Book Review: Three Daughters of Eve

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

Published – December 5th, 2017

I enjoy Elif Shafak’s books and this is the third book of Elif Shafak that I read after her two bestselling works of fiction – The Bastard of Istanbul and The Architecht’s Apprentice. I really enjoyed The Bastard of Istanbul but The Archutect’s Apprentice fell flat for me as I just couldn’t connect with the characters and the plot line. So I went into this book with almost no expectations.

Book Summary from Goodreads:

Peri, a married, wealthy, beautiful Turkish woman, is on her way to a dinner party at a seaside mansion in Istanbul when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground — an old polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from a past — and a love — Peri had tried desperately to forget.

Three Daughters of Eve is set over an evening in contemporary Istanbul, as Peri arrives at the party and navigates the tensions that simmer in this crossroads country between East and West, religious and secular, rich and poor. Over the course of the dinner, and amidst an opulence that is surely ill-begotten, terrorist attacks occur across the city. Competing in Peri’s mind however are the memories invoked by her almost-lost polaroid, of the time years earlier when she was sent abroad for the first time, to attend Oxford University. As a young woman there, she had become friends with the charming, adventurous Shirin, a fully assimilated Iranian girl, and Mona, a devout Egyptian-American. Their arguments about Islam and feminism find focus in the charismatic but controversial Professor Azur, who teaches divinity, but in unorthodox ways. As the terrorist attacks come ever closer, Peri is moved to recall the scandal that tore them all apart.


What I liked about this book,

When reading a book set in a different country or culture I am always delighted to know more about the social aspects and cultural nitty-gritties within that region and this book delivered that delight for me. Like in all Elif Shafak’s book this book touches upon some of the important cultural aspects of Istanbul. Although, she doesn’t go into detail on any of these subjects there is mention of marital rape, men and women interacting separately in social gatherings, crazy traffic within Istanbul and virginity tests.

I enjoyed the relationship between Peri and her teenage daughter. It wasn’t perfect and they didn’t get along as Peri would have like but it was I really enjoyed reading about.

The first half of the book was very well written. I was completely engrossed into the book to know Peri’s past and understand why she wanted to forget her past. I wanted to know the story of young Peri.


What I didn’t like about this book,

The second half fell flat for me, as I went deeper into Peri’s past I didn’t enjoy it as much. I also didn’t understand Professor Azur’s character who teaches God and divinity at all. I found myself skipping passages which describe the descriptions of these classes because I just didn’t get it.

Peri had two friends in college – Mona and Shirin. All of them were not compatible with each other. Mona and Shirin always argued. But their friendship was intriguing and as soon I started liking the bond that these girls were forming and wanted to see how this progresses it was over. There was hardly an depth to it rather it again went back to Professor Azur.

Peri’s character started off very strong. She was a good daughter, willing to take risks and wanted to travel the world but when I found out the ultimate reason why she quit Oxford and wanted to forget her past I felt meh and didn’t understand the point of it all. Peri ultimately became a confused women who I didn’t like at all.

Overall, I gave this book 3 stars. It was not a bad book, for the most part I enjoyed reading it and went through it pretty fast. But I didn’t enjoy the plot line as much as I thought I would when I started out.

Rating – ♥♥♥ / 5

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