Women’s Rights Wednesday: Silk Armor

Posted 30 July, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Women’s Rights Wednesday: Silk ArmorSilk Armor by Claire Sydenham
Published by Old Harbour Press on April 30th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Literary
Pages: 318
Goodreads
four-half-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Her name is Didem, a young Turkish university student. Though she has left her veil behind in the provincial village she grew up in, she is still watched over closely by her father and certain friends. But when she meets Victor, an American instructor at the university, and they fall in love, Didem is propelled into an entirely new and dangerous future. The obstacles and threats they face lead Didem and Victor into plans of escape, an escape Didem must keep secret. SILK ARMOR follows her adventure through her battles with her community, her culture, her traditions and conscience, leading to her realization that though these battles may be lost her war can still be won.

This book is so much more than that synopsis. It sounds a little like chick-lit, a forbidden, cross-cultural romance. All I can say to that is no. ABSOLUTELY NO. Romance in an element in this book, true – but it’s also a necessary device that is expertly used to explore the cultural significance behind the veil in modern Turkey. This is a story about the struggle of being a woman, even in a nation as secular as Turkey is.


Silk Armor is a cultural exploration of what it means to be veiled and what it means to eschew not only that tradition in Turkey, but tradition in general. Girls like Didem and Sevgi aren’t meant to go to school. This is a compelling and beautifully written piece of literary fiction about tradition, feminism, and that place where east meets west. 

Highly recommended. Had this book been picked up by a larger press it would have been on best of lists last year. It is very very good. 

Negative: That cover is awful. Even though the publisher sent me a copy, it took me ages to open up the book just because I found the cover so unappealing. Don’t let that put you off. Go read this. Now.

A better review can be found over at Guiltless Reading, where I first discovered this gem.

What do you think, Reader? Do cross-cultural books interest you? Do you have an opinion on the controversy surrounding the veil? 

 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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