Gardens of Water

Gardens of Water

by Alan Drew
3.9 18

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Gardens of Water 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alan Drew is an American who spent three years teaching in Istanbul. During that time, he witnessed the 1999 earthquake, which devastated many parts of western Turkey. Having seen the tragedy first hand, he uses it as the backdrop for his self-assured debut, Gardens Of Water. Sensitive, disturbing and thought-provoking at the same time, it deals with thems often dealt with before. Love, loss and betrayal are touched upon, but in this case, it is the setting which makes all the difference: Istanbul, a city where traditionalism and modernity come head to head, is symbolic of the fault line dividing the East and the West. Relationships are tested and sacred bonds are broken when the quake destroys the homes of thousands, including those of a Muslim Kurd and an American. The tragedy brings the families of Sinan, a conservative shop owner who has a teenage daughter and a nine-year-old son, and Marcus, an American teacher who has a teenage son Dylan, head to head. Sinan tries to shield his family from the influence of the Americans when they move into the same apartment building as theirs. Things change when his son survives the quake, thanks to the human shield created by Dylan's mother. Sinan is forced to take refuge in a camp run by American missionaries and sees his daughter falling in love with Dylan. The man who once banned his children from watching Western television and forced his daughters to cover herself when going out, soon sees his old world and the beliefs he held so dear slowly slip away. The powerful story of survival eloquently reflects the characters' inner turmoil as well, making this book hard to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Culture and customs of peoples of the Near East are hard for us to understand. And it must be hard to fashion a representative family in one of those countries without wondering if readers will let it represent at least one likely story that might happen in that country. As one who has lived in Istanbul, but a decade earlier than Mr. Drew, I found this book to be a really good representation of life in a little town on the outskirts of Istanbul. I found Mr. Drew's pictures of the families to be just as I experienced them. In every respect I found him to be painting a very accurate picture, very close to my own recollection. His story was captivating from the first. I rushed through the book the first time for plot only....I just had to see where he took the conflicts! At the end, I put the book down, and the next day started re-reading it slowly this time to savor what I had missed in the 'speed-reading.' Turkey is a different country than the US, different in culture and in social practices than we are used to. The reader with an open mind will see this not as better or worse than the US but just different from. I hope Mr. Drew will draw on his years in Turkey for more amazing stories.
Jean77 More than 1 year ago
This book was chosen for our book club. The author deposited us into Turkey right after their earthquake of 1999, and the author gave us a first hand view of survival as a Kurd in Turkey. I was especially taken with the struggles, challenges and trials of the father, as he is perhaps the best portrayed in the book. At least, he was my favorite. For a book club with active talking members (and we certainly are), there is much to discuss; including the topics of the American family and the role of Americans in Turkey, the role of missionaries, the young girl and her desire to fit in, the age-old challenges of young vs. older (parents), etc. The author brought up many topics and I commend the author for writing an excellent story for his first book.
GranT More than 1 year ago
This is a line from Gardens of Water. This wonderful first novel is about love-love of religion, parents, children and self. It is hard to imagine living in conditions as described in the novel with the hardships of daily life. Drew shows us what happens when east meets west. Writers like Drew bring these emotions and images to life in a touching way.
NevadaGirl More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've read in quite a while. The storyline is unique and the writing is excellent. The story illustrates the clash of two religions and two cultures. A very compelling read. Ideal for book clubs - lots of events to dissect and discuss. I listened to it on audio cd, which was really well done by the narrator - uses accents and emotions in his voice, which adds to the drama.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story goes wrong for me when the writer depicts christisn humanitarians as sneaky evangelizers. Marcus' son is hateful towards his fathers lifestyle and mocks everything good about it. A very depressing read.
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Christyscmh16 More than 1 year ago
In a complex world of clashing cultures, both between nations as well as within one another, Alan Drew weaves a tale that captivates the readers emotions, taking hold until the very end.

The story begins as Sinan and his Kurdish family celebrate their son's rite of passage. It is at this early point in the story that we discover that Irem, their teenage daughter bares a slight jealously towards her beloved brother for their parents favored treatment. We also learn of Irem's relationship with the American boy who lives in the apartment above them.

Suddenly, an earthquate hits the town that changes the life of each and every character forever.

So begins a tale that will ultimately lead to passion, fear, regret, loss, friendship, forgiveness, guilt, anger, and peace.

Irem will have you quickly reminiscing of those feelings as a rebellious teenager stricken with a desperate case of puppy love.

Sinan, the most complex character of the novel, will cause your emotions to fluctuate as you journey with him through the depth of a father's love, his misconstrued hatred for America and his contemplation of how to regain the honor of his family.

The ending comes as quite a surprise and I am sincerely impressed with this fresh novelist's debut into the literary world.

It is with great anticipation that I await his next project.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an emotionally charged novel centering on family. Drew's Debut tells the story of family, and forbidden relationships. I will definitely read another one by him
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went into this book knowing as much about Kurdish culture as the next non-Middle Eastern person tends to, and I finished it about the same way. While the plot has its interesting points, the treatment of the Kurdish people seemed rather shallow, more of a confirmation of stereotype than an eye-opening look into a different culture. The characters were fleshed out enough to keep me reading, but I would have liked to know more about their motivations and thoughts, especially when it came to the mother. The main character's actions seemed a bit unbelievable, but perhaps further insight into her cultural background might have fixed some of that. The plot seemed to be something that might have been clipped out of the news, which may be why it didn't do much for me on an emotional level. I don't regret taking the time to read this book once, but I definitely wouldn't read it a second time.