Birds without Wings

Birds without Wings

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Louis de Bernieres

List price $28.02

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Paperback $13.01
  • Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 640 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 236mm x 50mm | 980g
  • Publication date: 1 July 2004
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0436205491
  • ISBN 13: 9780436205491
  • Sales rank: 259,629

Product description

Birds Without Wings tells of the inhabitants of a small coastal town in South West Anatolia in the dying days of the Ottoman empire: Iskander the Potter and fount of proverbial wisdom; Philothei, a Christian girl of legendary beauty who is courted almost from infancy by Ibrahim the Goatherd, their great love culminating in tragedy and madness; Karatavuk and Mehmet-ik, childhood friends who play in the hills above the town, Mehmet-ik teaching the illiterate Karatavuk how to write Turkish in Greek letters; the two holy men of different faiths, Father Kristoforos and Abdulhamid Hodja, who greet each other with the words 'infidel efendi'; the landlord Rustem Bey, his wife's adultery and stoning, and his journey to Istanbul in search of a Circassian mistress. It tells also of Mustafa Kemal, the man of destiny, who by virtue of military genius and sheer bloody-mindedness defeats the Franks and reshapes the whole region in his image. When jihad is declared against the Allies the young men of the town are sent to war. Karatavuk soon finds himself at Gallipoli where he experiences the intimate brutality of trench warfare, the loss of many comrades and of his own innocence. As the great world intrudes, the twin scourges of religion and nationalism lead to forced marches and massacres, hunger grips the town and the peaceful fabric of life is destroyed. Epic, yet profoundly humane, Birds Without Wings is a glorious novel by one of our finest and best-loved novelists.

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Author information

Louis de Bernieres' first three novels are The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts (Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best First Book Eurasia Region, 1991), Se-or Vivo and the Coca Lord (Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best Book Eurasia Region, 1992), and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. The author was selected as one of the Granta twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. Captain Corelli's Mandolin won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best Book, 1995. His most recent book is Red Dog.

Customer reviews

By Helen Aivazian 05 Jun 2011 5

i dont feel i could do it justice. i came across this in an old book store in perth while i was travelling, and at first i wasnt too bothered by it, but then a friend chose it for me and told me i HAD to read it. this is now one of my favourite books. it made me laugh. it made me cry. it made me think. it captivated me. never did it bore me. de Berniere's beauty in language amazed me. i was sucked into the story and the life. i felt i knew the characters and their hardships. i recommend this to many people. i cant wait to read it again.

Review quote

"I loved its rich, relaxed humanism and was much moved by this expa nsive tale" Boyd Tonkin, Independent "it draws a big dramatic canvas embellished with jihad and passion, religion and nationalism, and of course, lots of love" Katherine Sale, Financial Times