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Event Description

1973: The First Bridge opens in Istanbul linking Asia and Europe. On her last night in her mansion overlooking the Bosphorus, Ottoman aristocrat Nuriye reflects on the seventy years of Turkish and world history and the human conditions she has experienced. Born the daughter of a demoted by revered general, the motherless Nuriye is raised by a Bambara slave and an English governess. Like the First Bridge, Nuriye’s life spans multiple cultures: The African religion of her nurse, the severe British strictures of her governess and the transition from the suffocating world of the late Ottoman Empire to modern Turkey. Nuriye manages to retain her personal integrity and her home through years of a childless and chaotic marriage and the efforts of her family to evict her from it. Told over the course of a single day in seven tales, corresponding to the five canonical prayers of Islam and the and the night before and after them and spoken to a recording machine, whose tapes Nuriye compares to a snake, Nuriye’s life is itself a bridge from the Darkness Before the dawn to the Night After the Last Prayer. But it’s in the darkest hours that Nuriye wonders how the Snake of Destiny chooses its victims. Is her family under a curse as she’s often been told? (Historica Fiction, 2019, 474 pages in paperback)

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