Halide's Gift by Frances Kazan
A Novel

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Set in magical, mystical Constantinople in the closing years of the nineteenth century, Halide's Gift is the story of a family with a secret, and a society in turbulent transition. At the heart of this beguiling novel are two sisters—one flamboyant and mischievous, the other shy and full of dreams—bound by an extraordinary friendship who will be torn apart by their love of radically different men.

Selima Edib, the aristocratic wife of the sultan's first secretary, bequeaths to her daughter Halide her passionate spirit and her gift—a power nursed within the family for generations, passed on from mother to daughter, and never revealed to outsiders: the power to see and commune with the spirits of the dead. Halide's gift leaves her torn between the spiritual, tradition-bound world of her grandmother and the intellectual world of her father, a deeply conflicted man who defies the sultan's edict to give his daughter the education of a Western woman, despite his loyalty to the regime.

As the story unfolds, Sultan Abdul Hamid plots, through his spies and informers, to crush the increasingly vocal opposition, leaving Halide and her sister, Mahmoure, on either side of a dangerous political divide.

About Frances Kazan

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Frances Kazan is the wife of the director Elia Kazan. She is the author of Goodnight, Little Sisters, a novel, has an M.A. in Turkish studies, and is a regular contributor to Cornucopia. A member of the Society for Women Geographers, she is board president of The Kitchen, a performance center in Chelsea. She lives in New York.
Published June 26, 2001 by Random House. 368 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Halide's Gift

Kirkus Reviews

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Edib Bey wants brilliant Halide educated by tutors to ready her for the American Girls College, but Granny is shocked.

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Publishers Weekly

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Devoted to the mystical poetry of the Sufis as well as to her growing ability to write English fiction, Halide attempts to walk the tightrope between West and East, even as she see others—like her half-sister Mahmoure, who abandons her arranged marriage and her children for her lover (and Edib's ...

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Entertainment Weekly

Clunky chunks of history read like a textbook, while other sections are jammed with characters -- a defiant sister, a proud stepmother, an intellectual suitor -- whose own tangled tales prevent Kazan from unraveling the mysteries of this unique woman.

Jul 20 2001 | Read Full Review of Halide's Gift: A Novel

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