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The Silence of Scheherazade


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Set in the ancient city of Smyrna, this historical novel follows the intertwining fates of four families as their peaceful city is ripped apart by the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

About the Author

Defne Suman was born in Istanbul and grew up on Prinkipo Island. She gained a Masters in sociology from the Bosphorus University then worked as a teacher in Thailand and Laos where she studied Far Eastern philosophy and mystic disciplines. She later continued her studies in Oregon, USA and now lives in Athens with her husband. The Silence of Scheherazade was first published in Turkey and Greece in 2015 and is her English language debut.


'A symphony of literature' -- Acik Radyo
'Defne Suman is a story-teller. She tells the story of how history inevitably determines our personalities, destinies and lives. She tells the story of how love, emotions and identities are influenced by socio-political events of a lifetime' * Cumhuriyet Newspaper *
'Defne Suman has crafted a wonderfully braided story of family secrets set in the magical city of Smyrna. Told in luminous prose, The Silence of Scheherazade is a romance full of rich and memorable characters whose lives collided with a pivotal and tragic moment in history. The novel is a delight' -- Lou Ureneck, author of Smyrna, September 1922
'When Smyrna was reduced to ashes in September 1922, the world lost one of its most beautifully cosmopolitan cities. Defne Suman and Betsy Goeksel have brought it back to life in all its glory in this rich tale of love and loss, giving voice to the silenced, and music to their histories' -- Maureen Freely, Chair, PEN UK
'The Silence of Scheherazade is a wonderful, social and historical novel, with delicate touches of love, and realistic moments of a daily life that was lost forever' -- Panos Tourlis, Books and Style Magazine (Greece)
'Suman's novel examines the conflict between a pluralistic notion of selfhood and a monolithically constructed national identity. The paradigms of exile and displacement, of speaking from minority positions, are intertwined with these themes' * Soezcukler Literary Magazine *
'Dense with rich descriptions and interwoven narrative threads ... A magnificent and illuminating historical novel concerned with every day life in the diverse Ottoman Empire' * Foreword *
'This unforgettable novel reveals a city, and a culture, now lost to time'. * LoveReading *
'Part Victorian Gothic, part cosmopolitan modernist, and part metatextual experiment ... Suman deftly paints a picture of a city which endures occupation after occupation ... Suman's tale is at its heart about those small people living their daily lives within the city, loving each other and the land beneath them ... Goeksel handles the translation of this complex tale just as skillfully as Suman herself weaves it' * Asymptote Journal *
'At once breathtakingly sweeping and textured with alluringly fine detail, this beautifully written story set in the Aegean city of Smyrna in the lead up to WWI is a sumptuous tour de force' * LoveReading *
'Suman's voice and descriptions are so unique and enveloping. I love the characters and reading it is an utterly delightful experience' -- Buki Papillion, author of An Ordinary Wonder
'Turkish author Suman's lush saga intertwines the fates of four families - Greek, Levantine, Turkish and Armenian - in a city now lost' * Straits Times *

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