Honor by Turkish writer Elif Shafak is one of the most gripping and well-written books I’ve had the pleasure to read. The story spans three time periods and takes place in two very different locations, ‘a village near the river Euphrates’ and London.
The story follows three generations of one family and the secrets and stories that bind them together. The main events circle around an honor killing which shocks the immigrant Kurdish/Turkish community in 1970s London. The lead up to, and aftermath of this terrible murder reverberate through the pages. The story is not told in a linear style which means we often know things that the characters have not yet experienced, this really adds to the vivid portrayals of the characters and their lives.
I read Shafak’s Forty Rules of Love last year and while I enjoyed it, I think Honor shows that this author is just getting better and better. Honor has been shortlisted for the 2013 Booker Prize and Elif Shafak surely deserves her place on that prestigious list.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Viking
Language/Profanity: 3 religious exclamations, 1 derogatory name, 6 scatological words, 6 F-word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: An animal is sacrificed; circumcision is described with some detail; reports of physical racist abuse; damage to property; a woman is beaten by a man; a teenager murders a family member; three suicides with some detail.
Sex/Nudity: Characters flirt and touch; three incidences of implied sexual activity; four mature discussions concerning sex; sexual activity without explicit description between adults.
Mature Subject Matter:
Gambling, Underage sex, Illegal drugs, Suicide, Murder, Prostitution, Drugs, Marriage Infidelity, Racism.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Cannabis is smoked by a ten year old boy with adult characters. Alcohol is drunk at a bar.