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THE STONE WOMAN by Tariq Ali

THE STONE WOMAN

By Tariq Ali

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 2000
ISBN: 1-85984-764-1
Publisher: Verso

The third volume of Pakistani-born novelist (and filmmaker) Ali’s ongoing Islamic Quartet (following Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, not reviewed, and The Book of Saladin, 1998) explores through its several major characters’ interconnected reminiscences the ordeal of a Muslim family in Istanbul, in 1899, as Christian and Jewish adversaries are ensuring the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The figures of patriarch Iskender Pasha—his powerful presence humbled by a stroke that has left him speechless—and the title image, a statue to which his kin address their observations and lamentations, are dominant symbols in a richly woven historical tapestry that, even before its completion, merits comparison with Naguib Mahfouz’s celebrated Cairo Trilogy. A great work in progress.