ISLAM QUINTET III
The Stone Woman
5.5 x 7.5 inches, 274pp. 2000
ISBN : 9788170462972
Rs 295.00 (PB)
Each year, when the weather in Istanbul becomes unbearable, the family of Iskender Pasha, a retired Ottoman notable, retires to its summer palace overlooking the Sea of Marmara. It is 1899 and the last great Islamic empire is in serious trouble. A former tutor poses a question which the family has been refusing to confront for almost a century: ‘Your Ottoman Empire is like a drunken prostitute, neither knowing nor caring who will take her next. Do I exaggerate, Memed?’ The history of Iskender Pasha’s family mirrors the growing degeneration of the Empire they have served for the last five hundred years. This passionate story of masters and servants, school-teachers and painters, is marked by jealousies, vendettas and, with the decay of the Empire, a new generation which is deeply hostile to the half-truths and myths of the ‘golden days.
’The Stone Woman is the third novel of Tariq Ali’s Islam Quintet. Like its predecessors, Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree and The Book of Saladin, its power lies both in the story-telling and the challenge it poses to stereotyped images of life under Islam.
This Chekhov-like scenario of intense emotion within a creaking social structure constructs a rich picture of history and the way we think about history—TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
. . . an Eastern Magic Mountain—LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS
Ali spins a web of tales that is as inventive and fantastical as the Arabian Nights—THE TIMES
Tariq Ali is a writer, critic and film-maker. He has written over a dozen books on world history and politics as well as scripts for both stage and screen. The first novel of his Islam Quartet, Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, has been translated into several languages and was awarded the Archbishop San Clemente del Instituto Rosalia de Castro Prize for the best foreign language fiction published in Spain in 1994. The third, The Stone Woman was published by Verso in 2000.