Title: Nad of Nadide
Author: Wagih Abu-Rish
Genre: General Fiction
Nad of Nadide is the story of a turbulent series of events triggered by the meeting of two young adults in 1980s Turkey. A chance encounter leads bright University students Fareed and Nadide to find one another. What follows is some of the regular ups and downs of navigating the first steps of a relationship, then the mutual discovery of a deep love for one another. But, Nad’s father, a top Junta general, insists there is no chance they can be together. In fact, he has already promised her to another man. When the young couple refuses to give up their relationship, the other members of each of their families rally around them. As the conflict quickly escalates, and Nad’s father’s political enemies begin to get involved, the whole family is put to the test, trying to keep everyone safe and together.
This story has a combination of a love story, family drama, and political and diplomatic elements. Because of the involvement of the junta, and Fareed’s half-Irish heritage, governmental and political forces within Turkey and abroad become involved in what otherwise would be a family matter. The author juggles the interests of the involved parties, each with complicated motives, masterfully.
One of the strengths of the story is the charm of the large cast of characters. In particular, Fareed’s mother Fiona looms large. A secondary character through the first section of the plot, she swoops in to become one of the driving forces for the remainder of it. It is she who uses her considerable cleverness to consistently find a way through the web of high-stakes issues in which they find themselves. Also notable is Nad, who is a realistically drawn, complex character. She is thoroughly loveable, though she frustratingly tends to jump to conclusions without all the facts, with dramatic results.
All the characters, though, are well-drawn and likable. The reader comes to care about all of them but is mainly invested in Fareed and Nad’s seemingly doomed relationship. Then, the reader must watch in suspense as obstacle after obstacle endangers not just the couple’s relationship but their safety, freedom, and even lives.
Some readers may find the amount of detail in conversations and relationships between combinations of characters all over the world hard to follow. In many ways, though, this same complexity is perhaps what is most impressive about the story. As such, the book is recommended to readers who are comfortable with keeping track of these complicated political, religious, and personal agendas. It would also be an excellent read for individuals or book clubs that enjoy exploring family dynamics, international relations, and diplomacy.
In all, it is an engaging read, shining a light on the diplomatic and political maneuvering needed in volatile situations to obtain such basic freedom as choosing one’s own partner. So, Nad of Nadide is definitely not the forbidden love story you’ve seen before. This time, the star-crossed couple—and their loved ones—take matters into their own hands, changing the world, so that they can be together.
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