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Bliss

by O Z Livaneli

Meryem's story is shocking, alien and very moving - yet this is just one strand of a complex and eventually uplifting tale. I found this a fascinating book - the horrors of Meryem's rape and the brutality of Cemal's war are never forgotten - but gradually their lives are transformed as they travel with Irfan and learn to live with the past.

Extract

So Meryem's head was covered. With a scarf on her head and every inch of her body enveloped in thick clothes, none of which she was allowed to remove, she sweated out her punishment in the heat of the sun .... On the day she stepped into womanhood, she also understood why she had no mother. Her mother must have received her punishment by dying in childbirth. God would not have punished her if he had created her a man, because then she could not have given birth and died.
Translated by Cigdem Aksoy Fromm

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