Monday, July 20, 2009
New in Paperback: Maureen Freely's ENLIGHTENMENT
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer takes note of the new paperback edition of Enlightenment by Maureen Freely as it hits bookstores this month: "Freely, best known as an English translator of Orhan Pamuk's books, ties together a post-9/11 story that stretches back to a group of radical Turkish and American students who come together in Istanbul in the 1970s. Split up by political and social betrayals, two group members are brought together more than 20 years later in Istanbul when the husband of one is detained by U.S. Homeland Security. The St. Petersburg Times acknowledged that "the book gets too complex in trying to connect its many strands. However, Enlightenment is an important work. At a time when the European Union is seriously considering granting Turkey membership, the poor democratic and human rights record of the nation, which comes through in this book, should make European leaders wary." The Washington Post thought Freely's novel was overwhelming in its attempt to be "a psychological thriller, a murder story, a rumination on friendship and a political investigation." The paper's reviewer noted that "'Enlightenment' may be too long and, at times, too opaque to win the audience it deserves, but it is a brave, unflinching work of art" with "a story almost impossible to summarize but hard to forget. It's remarkable for its descriptions of the city (Istanbul) as it was in the 1970s and as it is now, after the breakup of the Soviet Union has released so much energy around the area. Freely is an almost perversely original writer, sharply observing the world she knows so well and upending all one's suppositions and assumptions."