Honor by Elif Shafak
A Novel

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“Rich in psychological complexity, [Honor] presents an intricate pattern of events to show how a practice as heinous as honor killing could persist.” —Shelf Awareness
Turkey’s leading female writer, Elif Shafak has won international acclaim for her lyrical blend of Eastern and Western storytelling styles. In this heartbreaking tale of love and misunderstanding, Shafak draws upon the dazzling insight, emotion, and drama that infused The Bastard of Istanbul to explore the controversial issue of honor killings as it tragically plays out in one family’s life.

Twin sisters are born in the mid-1940s in a small Kurdish village on the border of Turkey and Syria. Jamila becomes a local midwife. Pembe marries Adem, and they immigrate to London in the 1970s. Bitter and frustrated with his new life, Adem moves out and Iskender, their eldest son, must step in as keeper of the family’s honor. But when Pembe begins to spend time with another man, Iskender will discover that you could love someone with all your heart and yet be ready to hurt them.


About Elif Shafak

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ELIF SHAFAK'S books include the novels The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love and the memoir Black Milk, and her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She has appeared on NPR, and the BBC, and at the TED conference. She lives in London and Istanbul.
Published March 7, 2013 by Penguin Books. 353 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The drama lies in what led to such violence, which Shafak explains through the history of Pembe and her husband, Adem, with whom she moved to London, of their three children who have grown up in England, and of Pembe’s twin sister, Jamila, who has stayed behind in rural Turkey.

Feb 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Honor: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Shafak (The Bastard of Istanbul) grips the reader from the opening page when, in 1992, Iskender Toprek is finally released from an English prison, to be picked up by his sister Esma. As Esma narrates

Mar 11 2013 | Read Full Review of Honor: A Novel

Open Letters Monthly

The sisters’ lives illustrate the two basic choices facing countless such young women in the hinterlands of the Middle East: stay and live out the rest of your life in the 8th century, or leave and live out the rest of your life as a stranger in a strange land.

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When a murder among a family of Turkish immigrants is committed in London, it is clear from the outset that Iskender Toprak has killed his mother; it soon becomes apparent that he did so for reasons of "honor," as Pembe was believed to be having an extramarital affair. Utilizing multiple narrator...

Apr 15 2013 | Read Full Review of Honor: A Novel

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