“Elif Shafak eloquently explores Turkey’s tumultuous present and past. Her magnificent latest moves between Istanbul and Oxford in a fascinating exploration of faith and friendship, rich and poor, and the devastating clash of tradition and modernity.”


An engrossing read, reminiscent in part of Donna Tartt’s “The Secret Society”, and in part of Ian McEwan’s “Atonement”. An allusion to an incident that occurred at Oxford, we learn, has haunted Peri for decades.

But until that is finally disclosed, Shafak plunges the reader into the complexities of Turkish society, religion vs secularism, the traditional vs the modern, the rich vs the poor, dualities that set her own parents apart. Wishing to make sense of it all, on arrival at Oxford, Peri is determined to join a seminar in divinity, more so because it is conducted by the charismatic and eccentric Professor Azur.

At Oxford, she finds herself caught between a westernised Iranian, Shirin, and a devout Egyptian, Mona, whose stances mirror those of Peri’s secular father and conservative mother respectively. The three women make the most unlikely trinity. The sense of direction that Peri had hoped to obtain through the seminar, however, is anything but. Instead she finds herself more conflicted, challenged by a foreign culture, and falling under the spell of Professor Azur.

Rich in theological and literary references from the East and the West, The Three Daughters of Eve is a thought-provoking novel that raises questions at every turn, while engaging the reader with well-rounded characters and plot twists. All this delivered in the most beautiful prose.


Reviewed by:

Dana K Haffar

Added 22nd February 2018