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Bliss
O. Z. Livaneli
Adult Fiction LIVANEL

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Summary: Meryem, a fifteen-year-old girl, lives in a rural village on the shores of Lake Van in Eastern Turkey. Her simple life changes dramatically after her uncle, a sheikh in a dervish order, rapes her. She is considered an outcast for shaming her family. When she is locked in a shed and left alone for days, she comes to the painful realization that her family expects her to hang herself with a length of rope left on the dirt floor. But she is defiant.&nbspAs tradition still has it, a judgment must be made in the name of honor. She is told she is to be taken to Istanbul, a shining city she envisions being just over the nearest mountain. Many girls from her village have "gone to Istanbul," and she assumes it must be a wonderful place since not one has returned. In fact, those girls have been the victims of "honor-killings."&nbspCemal, Meryem's cousin, a commando in the army, has been fighting in the mountains against the rebels. On his return home, he is welcomed as a hero though he has been severely traumatized by his war experiences. His father, who had violated Meryem, charges&nbspCemal with the task of&nbspexecuting his cousin's punishment. As he and Mereym begin their journey, they proceed through the marketplace where the townspeople have gathered, some weeping and others mocking her.&nbspIn Istanbul, a Harvard-educated professor named Irfan lives an elite existence. He has published many&nbspbooks, hosts a radio show, and seems to enjoy success and jet-set freedom. He revolts against the routine of his soulless life, deciding to leave his wealthy wife and Istanbul. He charters a boat to sail the Aegean . By coincidence, his path crosses with that of Meryem and Cemal. They embark on a journey together that fills their hearts with hope and sets them free.&nbspAlready an international bestseller, this lyrical and moving tale juxtaposes the traditional and modern and draws attention to human rights violations against women in the Middle East.


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main characters Meryem
Female
Age: 15
Rape victim
Raped by her uncle; travels with her cousin; being mentored by Irfan.

Cemal
Male
Meryem's cousin; ordered by his father to murder Meryem in order to save the family name; decides to travel with his cousin instead of killing her; takes on a job on Irfan's boat.

Irfan
Male
Plagued by insomnia and anxiety; gave up his life to sail in the Aegean Sea.
Professor



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