STARRED REVIEW
December 2017

The way we were

By Elif Shafak
Review by

Elif Shafak’s Three Daughters of Eve begins sharply, as Peri, a wealthy, middle-aged Turkish woman, makes her way to a dinner party. Suddenly, Peri finds herself face to face with a mugger, who takes her purse and shakes free its contents, including a cherished Polaroid.

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Elif Shafak’s Three Daughters of Eve begins sharply, as Peri, a wealthy, middle-aged Turkish woman, makes her way to a dinner party. Suddenly, Peri finds herself face to face with a mugger, who takes her purse and shakes free its contents, including a cherished Polaroid.

Watching the Polaroid flutter to the ground, Peri recalls her early days at Oxford University, a time of personal uncertainty about the existence of God. She and the two women from the photograph—the devout Mona and the skeptical Shirin—are “the three daughters of Eve,” and together they take a seminar on God. Peri is instantly smitten with the mysterious professor, and as he pushes her to question her beliefs, she falls deeper for him—and begins to panic.

The novel alternates between the present—as Peri encounters snobby members of Istanbul’s middle class at the dinner party—and her traumatic memories of what happened with her professor. In striking, lovely language, Shafak considers Islamophobia, teacher-student relationships and terrorism of many kinds. Fresh and timely, this is an approachable novel of big ideas.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Three Daughters of Eve

Three Daughters of Eve

By Elif Shafak
Bloomsbury
ISBN 9781632869951

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