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Publisher's Summary

From an award-winning Turkish novelist comes a powerful English-language debut about a girl’s coming of age amid violent unrest - and her unexpected escape.

A young woman climbs the tallest tree in Istanbul’s centuries-old Gülhane Park, determined to live out the rest of her days there. Perched in an abandoned stork’s nest in a sanctuary of branches and leaves, she tries to make sense of the rising tide of violence in the world below. Torn between the desire to forget all that has happened and the need to remember, her story, and the stories of those around her, begins to unfold.

Then, unexpectedly, comes a soul mate with a shared destiny. A lonely boy working at a nearby hotel looks up and falls in love. The two share stories of the fates of their families, of a changing city, and of their political awakenings in the Gezi Park protests. Together, they navigate their histories of love and loss, set against a backdrop of societal tension leading up to the tragic bombing that marked a turn in Turkey’s democracy - and sent a young girl fleeing into the trees.

Narrated by one of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary fiction - as full of audacious humor and irony as she is of rage and grief - this unsparing and poetic novel of political madness, precarious dreams, and the will to survive brilliantly captures a girl’s road to defiance in a world turned upside down, in which it is only from the treetops that she can find a grip on reality - and the promise of hope.

©2016 Şebnem İşigüzel (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Translation © 2020 by Mark David Wyers.

Critic Reviews

“If this incredible story wasn’t enough, Soneela Nankani…captures the protagonist’s voice perfectly.” --Book Riot

“Inventive, emotional…a wrenching account of a young woman doing her best to escape the violence of her society.” --Publishers Weekly 

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • TiffanyD
  • 21-11-20

Scattered tale of growing up female in Turkey

I enjoyed the first half or so of this more than the last. I was willing to suspend my disbelief long enough to believe she could mostly remain hidden as she was, but as the story goes on and our heroine persists in remaining in her tree I became more and more tired. We get a lot of information about how different women (mothers, aunts, teenage girls) might navigate life in modern Istanbul but in the end I found it all a bit overlong and my interest started to lag.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Larene
  • 07-09-20

Is a refund available?

Not going to waste my time, nothing redeeming about it so far, and I have too many other books I'd rather spend my time on. Would prefer a refund!