In 1999, in a town on the outskirts of Istanbul, Sinan Batioethlu is caught up in everyday problems. Despite the hardships he confronts as a minority Kurd he must be a role model for his nine-year-old son Ysmail, who is preparing for his coming-of-age ceremony. Meanwhile his teenage daughter Yrem grows more resentful of having to help her mother run the house, cover her glorious hair beneath a headscarf, and refrain from watching Western television.But the delicate stability of this family is about to be tested in the wake of a devastating earthquake that will strip Sinan of his home and livelihood, and with them his certainty as a father, husband and man of faith. Reliant upon missionaries running the camp they now call home and morally indebted to an American whom he distrusts (and whose son Dylan exerts a frightening pull on Yrem), Sinan becomes entangled in a series of increasingly dangerous decisions. Pushed towards a final betrayal, Sinan may yet find that everything he holds dear is destroyed, like the streets of Istanbul that lie in rubble beneath his feet.
A powerful debut novel which will appeal to fans of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner
'A penetrating, tightly focused novel which balances the sweetness of youth and the brooding anxieties of parenthood with a robust understanding of the Muslim-Western encounter' Leila Aboulela, author of Minaret 'Sensitive and thought-provoking, Gardens of Water is set in a perfectly realised Istanbul, a city where traditional and modernity grind together like the fragments of a collapsing building' New York Times Book Review 'Rich with emotion, this unforgettably story will leave you dying to talk about it with everyone' Publisher's Weekly 'A fascinating, heartbreaking book' USA Today
Alan Drew graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2004. His short fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train and elsewhere. He lived in Turkey for three years, and was there at the time of the 1999 earthquake. He lives and teaches in Cincinnati, USA.