Birds Without Wings

Birds Without Wings Birds Without Wingstraces The Fortunes Of One Small Community In Southwest Turkey Anatolia In The Early Part Of The Last Century A Quirky Community In Which Christian And Muslim Lives And Traditions Have Co Existed Peacefully Over The Centuries And Where Friendship, Even Love, Has Transcended Religious DifferencesBut With The Disintegration Of The Ottoman Empire And The Onset Of The Great War, The Sweep Of History Has A Cataclysmic Effect On This Peaceful Place The Great Love Of Philothei, A Christian Girl Of Legendary Beauty, And Ibrahim, A Muslim Shepherd Who Courts Her From Near Infancy, Culminates In Tragedy And Madness Two Inseparable Childhood Friends Who Grow Up Playing In The Hills Above The Town Suddenly Find Themselves On Opposite Sides Of The Bloody Struggle And Rustem Bey, A Wealthy Landlord, Who Has An Enchanting Mistress Who Is Not What She SeemsFar Away From These Small Lives, A Man Of Destiny Who Will Come To Be Known As Mustafa Kemal Atat Rk Is Emerging To Create A Country From The Ruins Of An Empire Victory At Gallipoli Fails To Save The Ottomans From Ultimate Defeat And, As A New Conflict Arises, Muslims And Christians Struggle To Survive, Let Alone Understand, Their Part In The Great Tragedy That Will Reshape The Whole Region Forever From The Hardcover Edition

Novelist Louis de Berni res was born in London in 1954 He joined the army at 18 but left after spending four months at Sandhurst After graduating from the Victoria University of Manchester, he took a postgraduate certificate in Education at Leicester Polytechnic and obtained his MA at the University of London Before writing full time, he held many varied jobs including landscape gardener, motor

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  • ebook
  • 558 pages
  • Birds Without Wings
  • Louis de Bernières
  • English
  • 01 October 2019
  • 9780307424990

10 thoughts on “Birds Without Wings

  1. says:

    No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in MankindeJohn DonneTo destroyWhen is it a duty When is it a right When is it a sin What makes one human being violate another s body and spirit What makes Cain to pick up the stone What convinces one man that the death of thousands would make the world a better place And on the contrary Who, what and when should we save Iskander the Potter believes that it is not the individual s fault and that it is all done by the great world And isn t the great world just a combination of myriad small worlds that collide and intertwine over and over again, shaping the big picture The world is shaped by the people who live in it, by their own personal worlds So yes, everyone is responsible for their actions However, no one is a lonely island Inevitably we are influenced by other people and events How can anyone stay moral in an immoral world Especially when it is the only way to survive But we are always confined to earth, no matter how much we climb to the high places and flap our arms Because we cannot fly, we are condemned to do things that do not agree with us Because we have no wings we are pushed into struggles and abominations that we did not seek, and then the years go by, the mountains are levelled, the valleys rise, the rivers are blocked by sand and the cliffs fall into the sea Where does the truth lie, then What do we stand to lose in the name of what we believe in What do we stand to lose in the name of what others believe in When do we go with the flock, when do we sacrifice ourselves How much are we ready to sacrifice in order to preserve ourselves Is survival worth all cost Can anyone truly know how much they are able to bear or is it only in the aftermath that we realize that we might have paid a price too high We are forgetting how to look at others and see ourselves It is said that he, who saves one, saves the whole world Then does he, who destroys one, destroy the whole world Because we all are the world and everything we do regardless of its nature comes back to us Actually, I don t believe it ever truly leaves I believe there are no two people entirely different or entirely alike What we do to others, we always do to ourselves as well Because we are all connected I am all the saints, I am all the sinners I am the best, I am the worst I am everyone, everything I am the whole world And yet, I am just me How do we choose between ourselves and the rest of the world And like this isn t enough, how do we cope with the multiple sides of our own personalities Are we all just birds without wings, ruled by the great world , desperately aiming for the sky, knowing that we would never reach it Or are we mighty eagles, ready to adjust and rule it as we please Who are the victims, who are the predators Are we shaped by the world that we live in or is it we who shape it and bear the responsibility for its nature I believe both of those are true War brings the best and the worst out of people, but in the end we are all the same Humans And, as said in Memoirs of a Geisha , Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper Don t pity the eagleWho can climb the sky and flyBut for the little wingless birdCry.Fire will be found byBirds that fly too highAnd all his feathers burnAnd he ll fall down and die.What bird has two nestsOnly one shall remainAnd his wings burnAnd he ll not fly again.What if I make a high nestBut the branch sinks low They will take my little birdAnd I will die of woe.Oh my little birdWho will chase you Who will put you in a cageAnd tenderly embrace you It s not possible to light aCandle that doesn t drip,And it s not possible to loveAnd never weep Read count 1

  2. says:

    ETA on completion Chrissie, stoip saying you love the book Explain why Everything explained below remains true Other books are emotionally captivating, intellectually interesting, filled with humor and sorrow, What is it that makes this one different for me It is that this book has a message It looks at people and life and it says loud and clear how stupid we human beings are and how wonderful too Does that make sense to you Do you see life that way too Read with Twice a Stranger The Mass Expulsions that Forged Modern Greece and Turkey and Salonica, City of Ghosts Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430 1950 and Not Even My Name A True Story Few books have so emotionally moved me I know now that this book will get five stars, although I have only read about half.Do not read this book, Listen to it The narrator of the audiobook is John Lee I bought the paperback Then I went and bought the audiobook at Audible for two credits I do not regret this splurge This is a winner I am not capable of separating the written book from the narration As a whole it is simply perfect On an intellectual level it teaches It teaches about life in a small village near Izmir, Turkey which was called Smyrna when the novel takes place, in the early 1900s The depiction of the village life, bustling with Greeks and Turks, Christians and Muslims teaches and amuses There are Armenians too So many different people and cultures and traditions and they all blended and lived in harmony Of course harmony scattered with village disputes and love affairs, pranks and numerous other everyday normal experiences On the intellectual level you also learn about Attaturk You learn about the battles of World War I You do not just learn You are in the trenches along with the men How dry this could all be But you see this book is never dry Each village character and even Attaturk becomes a close comrade This is because every sentence emotionally pulls you in There is satirical humor What humor You will be laughing at the worst of the war scenes I feel almost embarrassed to admit this This author makes you laugh at the most horrific, and then he grows serious and a profound observation is elucidated Wonderful vocabulary And now someone has died I am in tears, I laugh and I cry and I think and I learn.I am emotionally captivated time after time after time I worried that I would not keep track of the diverse characters This is no problem The same characters remain from start to end, I have never read such a marvelous seduction scene Never I have never encountered in a book the childish fright a young girl feels with her first bleeding, followed by the delightful discovery of womanhood I have never so physically felt myself in the trenches at war Horror and irony and laughter and profound philosophizing are all there in one scene What writing What narrating Please listen to this book If you have never tried audiobooks, start right here You will be hooked I am still a baby with audiobooks This is a whole new world opening up to me I want to share the experience with you Please, listen to this book If the audio format is inaccessible, OK, then read it There is not one thing I can criticize in this book.

  3. says:

    Tracing the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of the modern republic of Turkey, this novel alternates the first and third person narratives of a range of characters from the fictional town of Eskibah e meaning Garden of Eden in southwest Turkey with an account of the life of Mustafa Kemal, later Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first leader of modern Turkey At the turn of the 20th century, the inhabitants of Eskibah e comprise Muslim Turks, Christians of Greek origin and Armenians They live together in relative harmony, forming friendships and inter marrying Both Christians and Muslims hedge their bets somewhat, with Muslims asking their Christian friends to offer prayers of intercession and Christians having a profound respect for the local imam The lives of the inhabitants of Eskibah e are torn apart by World War I and Turkey s subsequent war with Greece, together with the Armenian genocide and the forced exile of Turkish Christians to Greece and of Muslim Greeks to Turkey In beautiful and accessible prose, de Berni res creates a strong sense of time and place I found the chapters dealing with the Gallipoli campaign particularly powerful The story of this WWI campaign is well known to Australians and New Zealanders, who commemorate the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 as a national day to honour those who have served their country in time of war It was extremely moving to read an account of the campaign including an account of the fellowship and respect which grew between the Turkish and the Australian and New Zealand soldiers from a Turkish point of view The account of the forced exodus of Armenians in 1915 and the subsequent Armenian genocide, which in terms of the novel occurs off stage and that of the expulsion of Greeks from Turkey and of Muslims from Greece after the signing of the Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations in 1923 are also powerful and moving It took me a while to become completely engaged with the characters and the narrative This is a long novel and de Berni res introduces his characters and builds tension slowly While there is plenty of humour a lot of it sardonic the work is a serious indictment of extreme nationalism, of religious dogma and of war and its atrocities However, it also explores human resilience and the type of love and friendship which can survive even the horror of war and ethnic and religious conflict In a sense, Eskibah e represents a Turkey in which different religious and ethnic communities could live in harmony before the choice to do so was taken away from them And the tragic love story of the Muslim boy Ibrahim and the Christian girl Philotei which forms part of the narrative represents the tragedy which befell Greek Christians expelled from Turkey to a land which was not their own In the process of describing the devastation on which this novel centres, de Berni res does not spare himself in criticising those he considers responsible for what occurred Before I started reading the novel, I was reasonably familiar with the political situation in Turkey since the 1980s By reading it I learned a lot about the beginnings of modern Turkey and was able to put what I already knew into historical context This is not an easy novel to read However, it made me both laugh and cry and for a patient reader with an interest in 20th century international relations, the novel is a rewarding literary experience Thanks to my GR friend Chrissie for recommending it to me.

  4. says:

    4.5 Stars Birds without Wings by Louis Bernieres.A dense, mesmerising, harrowing and yet humorous novel that will bring out all emotions that a reader can experience but did not think possible in one story Set in the peaceful fictional village of Eskibahce in south west Turkey and home to Turkish Muslims and Greek Christians who have lived for centuries side by side and tolerate and enjoy for the most parts each other s traditions and religions The author introduces us to a village of characters and when the war is declared and the outside world intruded the twin scourges of religion and nationalism lead to forced marches and massacres and the peaceful fabric of life is destroyed Birds without wings is a personal and political story showing the costs of war Where does it all begin History has no beginnings, for everything that happens becomes the cause of pretext for what occurs afterwards, and this chain of cause and pretext stretches back to the Palaeolithic age, when the first Cain of one tribe murdered the first Cain of Another., IThe story is based on a small fictional village in south western Coastal Anatolia called Eskibahce, although fictional I believe the village is actually based upon Kayakoy a village near Fethiye the ruins which still exist today Once a thriving Greek Village this town of over one thousand houses two churches, fourteen chapels and two schools was completely deserted in 1923 when the Greek inhabitants living throughout Turkey were deported to Greece by the Government in an exchange policy.The destruction of the Ottoman empire in the First World War and its aftermath put and end to a beautiful tradition of religious and ethnic tolerance and the descriptions depicted by the author of the atrocities inflicted on women and children in this novel are very harrowing one in particular will never leave my mind but while it was difficult reading in places I only had to read about itthousands of woman and children had to endure it There is also wonderful humour though out the story and some laugh out loud moments that read like a breath of fresh air.The writing, the characters, the setting and the history is all impeccably crafted I did however have a hard time getting into the novel as I found the first 100 pages hard going and only for a friend had warned me about this I could easily have put this book aside and missed out on a wonderful read I think the novel at 625 pages was quite a long read and perhaps could have been shortened as some of the chapters are overwritten and very descriptive That aside I loved and enjoyed the novel very much and I would recommend this for lovers of history.

  5. says:

    This, for me, is one of those rare and treasured reads, a book that will stay with me forever It tells the story of a small village in Smyrna starting about 1900, before it became Turkey It is divided into many short chapters, and is told mostly in the third person Sprinkled throughout, though, are chapters told from the point of view of several of the villagers, some of whom we meet as children, while others merely recount events from their young lives from the perspective of mature adults I loved this book because I loved the people who inhabited it, and the author made me feel that I know them More than that, though, he made me feel he knows me This was my first experience with Louis de Bernieres, but it won t be my last I am no history buff, so the description scared me off a little I wasn t sure if I would understand it Then I took a look at the first page, and the writing pulled me in immediately Here is the start of the second paragraph There comes a point in life where each one of us who survives begins to feel like a ghost that has forgotten to die at the right time, and certainly most of us were amusing when we were young It seems that age folds the heart in on itself Some of us walk detached, dreaming on the past, and some of us realize that we have lost the trick of standing in the sun How can you not read a book that starts with such wisdom, such truth and eloquence I couldn t resist This is a wise book, full of humor You ll need the humor, because there is also great tragedy here The characters feel very real It s about life, the good, bad and ugly We get to know the village and its people, its customs, superstitions, and traditions It s about strength and courage and beauty and friendship It s about community and family, and war s far reaching, often devastating effects I started with a library copy, then bought the book halfway through because I knew I would want to reread this, and I d want to be able to lend it out I d also like to highly recommend the audiobook, narrated by John Lee He is a gifted narrator His inflections and delivery, in my opinion, are perfect for the prevailing tongue in cheek tone of the story I feel as though I should have taken notes as I read, because I don t feel I m doing this book enough justice here I would really like to revisit this in a few years, once I have a better understanding of WWI You really don t need the historical background going in to be able to enjoy the book Trust me, I had almost none However, I already want to reread it Next time, with the background, I know I will appreciate it even I also want to thank my good friend Chrissie for encouraging me to read this, in spite of the fact that I was unfamiliar with the history What a tremendous book I feel that it has been stitched into my soul, a rare treasure.

  6. says:

    One of the GoodReads groups I am in, The World s Literature, is focusing on literature from and about Turkey this year Birds Without Wings was one of the February picks discussion will end up here, and even though I started it a while ago, it took me staying up until 2 am this morning to get through it This is an incredibly well executed novel The author tells the story of Turkey in the early 20th century, from its development from the Ottoman Empire or Anatolia, into a time where the people living there embraced the word Turk, Turkish, Turkey prior to that change, it had been a pretty derogatory term This is the second book I ve read this year to include Mustafa Kemal, but while the other book focused on his violent acts from an outsider perspective, Birds Without Wings entwines his story from youth to Atat rk, and explains his pivotal role in where the country is now It is done rather without judgment, just the facts Well, I m not sure The Armenians are removed and the Christians are removed and the violence surrounding it is implied but not focused on The core of the story isn t Mustafa Kemal, however It focuses on the people living in a small village where people speak Turkish written in a Greek alphabet, where friendships cross religious and ethnic lines, but war and governmental change creates conflict in all those areas It is a sad but true transformation from tolerance to division The story is told from multiple perspectives, from Iskander the Potter to the mistress of the wealthiest man in town The writing is dense, filled with local color, and goes by quickly with the changing perspectives.The author s opinion is clear throughout the novel, mourning the past where different people could live together in the days of the Ottoman Empire This quotation sums up a great deal of the tone of the book It was said in those days one could hear seventy languages in the streets of Istanbul The vast Ottoman Empire, shrunken and weakened though it now was, had made it normal and natural for Greeks to inhabit Egypt, Persians to settle in Arabia and Albanians to live with Slavs Christians and Muslims of all sects, Alevis, Zoroastrians, Jews, worshipers of the Peacock Angel, subsisted side by side and in the most improbable places and combinations There were Muslim Greeks, Catholic Armenians, Arab Christians and Serbian Jews Istanbul was the hub of this broken felloed wheel, and there could be found epitomised the fantastical bedlam and babel, which, although no one realised it at the time, was destined to be the model and precursor of all the world s great metropoles a hundred years hence, by which Istanbul would, paradoxically, have lost its cosmopolitan brilliance entirely It would be destined, perhaps, one day to find it again, if only the devilish false idols of nationalism, that specious patriotism of the morally stunted, might finally be toppled in the century to come.

  7. says:

    Hopefully, a proper review will follow in the next few days One of those special novels that drew me in from the first page and kept me riveted until the very last The characters became people I really did care about I will think about them for a long time to come My top quotes from the novel Man is a bird without wings and a bird is a man without sorrow. There comes a point in life where each one of us who survives begins to feel like a ghost that has forgotten to die at the right time, and certainly most of us were amusing when we were young It seems that age folds the heart in on itself Some of us walk detached, dreaming on the past, and some of us realize that we have lost the trick of standing in the sun For many of us the thought of the future is a cause for irritation rather than optimism, as if we have had enough of new things, and wish only for the long sleep that rounds the edges of our lives .The second quote sounds depressing but when spoken by the character Isklander the Potter, it is not Rather you understand his assessment of life for him now, after the wars, view spoiler after he has accidently maimed his son hide spoiler

  8. says:

    L impossibile volo la traduzione impropria ma comunque abbastanza azzeccata dal titolo originale Birds without wings gli uccelli sono sempre presenti lungo tutto il racconto e costituiscono un filo conduttore attraverso una vicenda lunga anni, e le riflessioni ispirate da questo filo conduttore non mancano di grande attualit Il canto degli uccelli accompagna i protagonisti dall alba al tramonto e dal tramonto all alba, sottolinea gli eventi cruciali, fa da controcanto agli eventi di guerra uccellini di ogni specie vengono donati e ricevuti in dono i personaggi sono spesso paragonati a uccelli, o ne prendono il nome o ad un uccello devono il loro soprannome, per tramite dei volatili essi tentano di comunicare con i morti, comunicare con Dio e comprendere il significato della propria esistenza Il racconto si apre con due dei protagonisti che, da bambini, sono convinti di poter volare come uccellini e si conclude sull anno 1923 con la cittadina di Telmessos che cambia nome in Fethiye in onore di un aviatore ottomano dunque a suo modo un volatile Quando si osserva il cielo con i suoi pochi occupanti gli uccelli o i pochi aerei sempre per rimpiangere la sua immensa distanza dalla terra e dal mondo terreno Il desiderio di volo pervade tutta la lettura Gli uomini sono strani uccelli, di un tipo che non vola un granch Per gli uccelli con le ali niente cambia essi volano dove vogliono, incuranti dei confini, i loro bisticci sono cose da nulla Noi, invece, siamo costretti in terra, non importa quanto in alto ci arrampichiamo e quanto agitiamo le braccia Non potendo volare, siamo condannati a fare cose che non ci appartengono Non avendo ali, siamo sospinti verso infamie e battaglie che non cerchiamo Il racconto si svolge in una antica cittadina nei pressi delle coste dell Anatolia, tra la fine del XIX e l inizio del XX La narrazione corale, i narratori sono gli stessi protagonisti le cui voci si alternano a quella del narratore onnisciente Queste due caratteristiche messe insieme ne fanno un romanzo dal respiro amplissimo il crollo dell impero ottomano, la Grande Guerra, la nascita di uno stato indipendente turco, e l intersecarsi di questi eventi con i fatti di vita dei singoli protagonisti sono un intreccio di grande impegno Impegno sia per lo scrittore, che ha dovuto abbracciare con lo sguardo un qualcosa di enorme, e impegno anche per il lettore perch comunque non solo lettura di intrattenimento ma anche istruttiva Per quanto mi riguarda, su Mustafa Kemal Ataturk sapevo poco e niente, mentre ora un idea me la sono fatta, anche se devo ammettere che le parti di racconto dedicate specificamente a lui sono un po meno incisive del resto Superlative invece le descrizioni di Istanbul e di Smirne di inizio secolo scorso La narrazione parte a rilento perch deve introdurre numerosi personaggi, ciascuno con la sua presentazione e la sua storia, nessuno di essi inutile rispetto l intreccio complessivo della storia, anche se subito risulta difficile intendere dove l autore va a parare la storia che racconta stavolta molto pi imponente rispetto Il mandolino Quel che a suo tempo mi aspettavo di trovare ne L imbroglio del turbante di Serena Vitale, l ho invece trovato qui, a distanza di diversi anni La dolcezza dei paesaggi e delle atmosfere tra le vie della piccola cittadina rurale e tra le antiche rovine Licie e in seguito il crollo dell impero ottomano, il crollo di tradizioni e certezze che duravano da secoli, e l irrompere dell orrore della guerra Sul finale non manca nemmeno una certa emozione assistendo alla nascita di una nuova nazione e, da parte dei suoi cittadini, nonostante tutte le tribolazioni patite e gli orrori che sono stati commessi, un certo orgoglio per la presa di coscienza di questa nuova cittadinanza Tutto il libro estremamente denso di temi e ricco di significati che si intersecano oltre la storia, la geografia, la religione, ci sono ovviamente i temi della guerra, della tolleranza e della convivenza pur nelle diversit , l a per la terra nat a, il rapporto con la natura e la vita agreste della cittadina all inizio del XX secolo, la condizione di fragilit dell essere umano e della sua quotidianit C l intento molto tolstojano di dimostrare in modo pratico e concreto, raccontando tutta la concatenazione degli eventi, come la storia fatta dai generali e capi di stato coinvolge e travolge i semplici cittadini e comuni mortali, e come a loro volta generali e capi di stato in realt non fanno la storia ma sono anch essi influenzati da piccoli e apparentemente insignificanti eventi Non manca nemmeno un collegamento diretto con l altro romanzo di De Berni res, Il mandolino del Capitano Corelli, per stuzzicare la curiosit di chi ancora non l ha letto e per strappare un sorriso a chi gi conosce la storia e cos pu estendere gli intrecci tra i due romanzi Un ottimo inizio per le letture del 2015.

  9. says:

    I so wish that the editor had been a bit stringent with this book so that people would read it Even adoring the book as I did, I found I would have preferred it with one or two fewer plot lines It is an incredibly historically informational novel peopled with a few too many warmly flawed and incredibly real characters I think the author s ability to provide a variety of viewpoints via the different Muslim, Catholic, Turkish and Greek characters we meet on a time period that is hotly debated even today makes this a book that should be required reading for all Americans.

  10. says:

    4 Birds Without Wings is my favorite kind of historical novel De Bernieres transported me to the fictional village of Eskibah e in the last years of the Ottoman Empire His writing is so vivid that the town residents felt alive to me I also learned quite about about the historical period and the break up of the Ottoman Empire I listened to the audio version, wonderfully narrated by John Lee.

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