I have an enormous stack of inviting books, but Sue insisted I put this one at the top of my pile -- and now I know why! What a compulsive read.
Dervishes is a great title, because you can just feel everything spinning out of control in the secretive, off-balance lives of American diplomats stationed in Turkey in the 1970’s. The story is told in turn by a 12 year-old girl named Canada and her unmoored mother Grace, an original “desperate housewife.” It involves sinisterly sensuous houseboys, flirtatious riding instructors, and unreachable husbands who disappear in the middle of the night on unexplained assignments. The tension and jealousy in this novel are palpable; they feel like threatening characters lurking around each corner.
Beth Helms is an author with stunning talent. I will definitely be picking up her earlier story collection, American Wives, the winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award. Thanks for the recomendation, Sue!
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