Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

I had read two books by Elif Shafak earlier this year-Honour and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World. And I thought those two were great. But this one didn’t quite do it for me

Three Daughters of Eve follows Peri who grows up in Turkey, with her staunchly religious mother and her staunch secularist father, perhaps exemplifying the Kemalist-Islamist divide in Turkey. We follow her as she moves to Oxford for studies, and meets three persons who change her life-Shirin, a Westernised Iranian-American who looks down on all things religious, Mona, an Egyptian who is a staunchly religious Muslim intensely critical of the West and Azur, an enigmatic professor who teaches about God and religion and challenges everyone’s views.

I thought the concept behind the book was great, and the characters were interesting, but could have been developed better. Peri as a main character was really relatable to me, because even though I don’t share her religious dilemma, I can relate to her feeling of being constantly in a state of indecision, of her being caught between different worlds. But she didn’t really feel like a well-fleshed out characters. In fact all the characters in the story felt interesting but underdeveloped, which I felt was the greatest weakness. In Shafak’s other books I read, the characters and the descriptions of the settings were the biggest strength, and that simply wasn’t up to the mark in this one. There is also a mystery of sorts, which was intriguing enough but not majorly. Overall, I’d say this was an ‘okay’ story, entertaining enough, but definitely not Shafak’s best.

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