Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Archive for June 22nd, 2009

Silver Wedding

Posted by nliakos on June 22, 2009

by Maeve Binchy

This short novel is classic Binchy.  It takes a situation (the 25th wedding anniversary of Desmond and Deirdre Doyle) and chapter by chapter looks at that situation from the points of view of the various characters: the couple themselves, their three children, their friends, other relatives, and the priest that married them.  Everyone’s life has its tragic aspect.  The husband and the three adult children are struggling to free themselves from their mother’s insistence that they pretend they are something they aren’t.  Deirdre herself believes that she must pretend to satisfy her own mother, which turns out not to be true.  Amazingly, it all works out in the end.  Not my favorite Binchy, but a good one-day read.

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Not Even My Name

Posted by nliakos on June 22, 2009

by Thea Halo (Picador, 2000/2001)

Thea Halo’s mother was born to Greek parents in present-day Turkey during the Ottoman rule.  When she was ten, the Turks drove her and her family out of the village where they and their ancestors had lived for thousands of years and into the interior of the country.  Fourteen pages in the middle of the book summarize the general history and background of  Turkey’s expulsion of its non-Muslim peoples in the early twnetieth century, and the rest of the book focuses on what happened to Themia, the little Greek girl who became Thea Halo’s mother, Sano.  (The title refers to the fact that because the Assyrians she lived with could not pronounce her name, they gave her a new one, thus ending any connection to her Greek past.)   After her parents gave her up because they could not feed her, she was abused by the woman she worked for until she finally ran away.  At the age of 15, she married an Assyrian man much older than she and emigrated to the United States, where she learned English (possibly her sixth language) and raised a large family.  A kind of success story, only it is hard to imagine how she coped with the tragic loss of her entire family.  A very sad story, but one that needs to be told.

Posted in Non-fiction | Leave a Comment »