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The Snake Stone

by Jason Goodwin

I got lost twice in this book: first in the hustle and bustle of 19th Century Istanbul, through it's vivid and colourful descriptions of city life, and second in the vast array of characters whose individual stories are hard to follow. Don't read this if you're looking for a pacey crime novel. It's the sounds and smells of the bustling city that will remain with you not the twists of the plot.

Extract

Istanbul was a city in which everyone, from Sultan to beggar, belonged somewhere - to a guild, a district, a family, a church or a mosque. Where they lived, the work they did, how they were paid, married, born or buried, the friends they made, the place they worshipped - all these things were arranged for them, so to speak, long before they ever balled their tiny fists and sucked in their first blast of Istanbul air; an air freighted with muezzins, the smell of the sea, the scent of cypresses, spices and drains.

Parallels

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