Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Silk Armor

17902460Her name is Didem, a young Turkish university student. Though she has left her veil behind in the provincial village she grew up in, she is still watched over closely by her father and certain friends. But when she meets Victor, an American instructor at the university, and they fall in love, Didem is propelled into an entirely new and dangerous future. The obstacles and threats they face lead Didem and Victor into plans of escape, an escape Didem must keep secret. SILK ARMOR follows her adventure through her battles with her community, her culture, her traditions and conscience, leading to her realization that though these battles may be lost her war can still be won.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Claire Sydenham unveils a Turkish story of love, betrayal, hope, and despair with her novel, Silk Armor. Told from a third party's perspective, the romance between an American man and a Turkish woman is shared as the world works against this imagined kismet. 

Though Claire is the narrator, she isn't part of the main character cast. She's the hub that holds each spoke of this story in place, connecting them and allowing them to rotate around her. The story is really about Victor and Didem. Victor is an alcoholic English teacher who traveled (with Claire and others) to Turkey in order to share his language skills. He is an unforgiving brute who knows nothing of morality. Yet, he bears his shame, even accepts it, condemning himself before others have the chance. 

When Victor first meets Didem, he is enamored with lust. Didem is portrayed as a naive girl who believes that she can force the hand of fate by falling in love with an American, an escape from the oppressive veil of Turkey. Though her experiences far outweigh her naivete and she seems to evolve in the eyes of the narrator into a very calculated character. 

Readers will connect with the beauty of the love affair, falling themselves for the fated meeting of Victor and Didem, until all is revealed and death comes to the love that blossomed so quickly. 

The novel follows the story of the love affair through Claire's eyes as she travels back from Turkey to the U.S. for summer vacation. The entire book is a remembrance with a peek at the consequences and what became of Victor and Didem. Though, there remains a question that I can't shake even after the conclusion of this tilted and temptation-ridden book. Can Claire be trusted as the narrator? She obviously despises Victor and doesn't hold much respect for Didem, or perhaps she has too much for another character, which leads me to believe that the true story is not complete. Silk Armor is definitely a book that demands a second-look, a deeper investigation, to satisfy the itch it leaves behind. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups

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