In 1999, Sinan is caught up in everyday problems. Despite hardships, he must be a role model for his nine-year-old son Ysmail, who is preparing for his coming-of-age ceremony. Meanwhile his teenage daughter Yrem grows more resentful of having to help her mother run the house, cover her glorious hair beneath a headscarf, and refrain from watching Western television. But the delicate stability of this family is about to be tested in the wake of an earthquake that will strip Sinan of his home and livelihood, and with them his certainty as a father, husband and man of faith. Reliant upon missionaries running the camp they now call home and morally indebted to an American whom he distrusts (and whose son Dylan exerts a frightening pull on Yrem), Sinan becomes entangled in a series of increasingly dangerous decisions. Pushed towards a final betrayal, Sinan may yet find that everything he holds dear is destroyed, like the streets of Istanbul that lie in rubble beneath his feet. East meets West with indelible consequences in this moving and beautifully written novel which brings to life two unforgettable families and the sacrifice and love that bind them together.
Alan Drew graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2004. His short fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train and elsewhere. He lived in Turkey for three years, and was there at the time of the 1999 earthquake. He lives and teaches in Cincinnati, USA.