Friday, January 19, 2018

Madonna In A Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali

(Thank you to the Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Available in English in the United States for the first time, this best-selling Turkish classic of love and alienation in a changing world captures Berlin between the two world wars.
A shy young man leaves his home in rural Turkey to learn a trade and discover life in 1920s Berlin. There, in the city’s bustling streets, elegant museums, charged politics, and notorious cabarets, a chance meeting with a beautiful half-Jewish artist transforms him forever. Caught between his desire for freedom from tradition and his yearning to belong, he struggles to hold on to the new life he has found with the woman he loves.

Emotionally powerful, intensely atmospheric, and touchingly profound, Madonna in a Fur Coat is a novel about new beginnings, the relentless pull of family ties, and the unfathomable nature of the human soul. First published in 1943, this unforgettable tale, with its quiet yet insistent defiance of social norms, has been topping best-seller lists in Turkey since 2013.

my thoughts:

A Turkish classic that is finally available in English - you know its a must-read!  Thanks to Other Press, I was able to get my hands on a copy and dive right in.

This is a love story and it is quiet, sad, and beautiful.  Our narrator gets a job in the Turkish Republic's capital, Ankara.  It is there that he meets Raif, a man he soon befriends.  One day, he learns that Raif has a black leather notebook filled with his writings hidden in the shop where they clerk.  It is through this notebook that we get our love story.  When Raif was younger, he was sent to Berlin to learn about the soap business (his family's business).  Once there he finds himself spending his time wandering the streets, taking in the sights, reading book after book, and enjoying himself.  He goes to an art gallery one day and finds himself transfixed by a self-portrait painting - soon he is returning to the gallery every day for a chance to look at this painting.  He winds up meeting the artist, Maria, and the two become enraptured with one another.  They are polar opposites, Maris is headstrong and assertive, while Raif is quiet, anxious, and unsure of himself.  Their friendship blossoms and borders on true love.  However, circumstances arise that prevent them from truly becoming a great love story.  Instead, their story becomes one of missed opportunity, which makes for a heartbreaking and relatable read.  I found myself thinking back to my own missed opportunities, which made the emotional aspects of this book even more powerful.  Ali has written a wonderful story about love, loss, heartbreak, and wistfulness - filled with unforgettable characters. I truly enjoyed reading Madonna in a Fur Coat

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you will fall in love with the writing, the characters, and their story - Madonna in a Fur Coat is a must-read!!

Thank you to the Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!


Ti said...

Other Press puts out some great reads.

Lark said...

This sounds like one of those beautifully sad and unforgettable stories! It also sounds like a definite must-read! :) Thanks, Nadia!
(The only Turkish novel I've read is My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. But I did really like it.)

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Ti, they really do. So far I have loved everything book I've read :)

Lark, yes, exactly! Your welcome - hope you enjoy it as much as I did :) I still haven't read that one, but after this one will definitely be adding it to my TBR list.