Louise (Los Altos CA)
Like the Dervishes, this novel left my head spinning. Having toured through Turkey, I could almost taste the sights and sounds of Istanbul and Ankara. This alone would make the time spent reading worthwhile. At its conclusion I found myself ordering a box of Turkish Delight aka Lokum.
Though all the characters are evil, and not totally believable, I couldn't put the book down. What a fun read.
Kathleen (Appleton WI)
Great Read for Book Clubs
I strongly recommend this book for book clubs or for people who like to struggle with untidy issues. Dervishes is not a tidy book. On the contrary, it raises more questions than it answers, and is disturbing on many levels. The constantly shifting voice can be confusing, but emphasizes how everyday events can be interpreted quite differently. Seemingly trivial decisions result in lives that are irrevocably changed. The author shows great empathy for characters who aren't necessarily likable, but are people we can relate to all too well. I was expecting a story about a mother-daughter relationship set in Turkey, but the author delivered far more.
Francine (chantilly VA)
This dark story tells the downward spiral of a mother and daughter caught in a web of secrecy and deceit sprinkled with questionable relationships. They are immersed in a whirlpool of outside influences that severely damages each of them personally as well as their already shaky relationship to each other.
Might this situation be what one might refer to as a "howling" or "whirling" dervish?
I believe this to be an excellent read for a book club - speculations and discussions would abound.
Tracy (Providence RI)
An interesting portrait of a culture, a time , a place and a society that heretofore was a mystery to me. The author does a superb job of evoking time and place.
Some of the writing was lyrical other portions were clunky and contrived - overwritten. Most difficult for me were the characters - none of whom were apealing to me. The father had potential - but his character was never developed - he was the one I had some desire to get to know. Add to that a slow developing plot and unfortunately, I lost interest and the book became tedious.
Amber (Glendale AZ)
I enjoyed this book a lot. The setting and the characters were interesting and sympathetic. I was a little disappointed in the resolution; I didn't feel like the daughter's story was carried through to a satisfactory point. But the ending was engaging overall. The atmosphere of the book was probably my favorite thing about the book.
Ellen (West Hollywood CA)
Beth Helms has written an excellent first novel and I look forward to reading her story collection.
This was an absolutely beautifully written book - descriptive, mysterious and magical. From the first few pages I was immediately drawn to the story of Canada and her mother and father. The author writes in an almost poetic form and I truly felt as though I knew this family as well as the places they lived.
I loved this book - it was entertaining yet also very personal - a story we can all relate to on many levels. I highly recommend this book.
Randi (Bronx NY)
I was quickly drawn in to this well-written story about an American family living in Turkey. The relationships between the daughter and her mother, the mother and the father, and the new inhabitants of Turkey with its citizens all interested me. I admit however, to some squeamishness with a few of the scenes involving the children. They was a level of cruelty displayed that turned my stomach.
However, having said that I would still recommend this book.