The Stone Woman

The Stone Woman:A Novel

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Istanbul, 1899. The last great Islamic empire is in serious trouble. The family of Iskender Pasha, an Ottoman notable, has retired to its summer palace. Then 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?'
This passionate story of jealousies, betrayals and vendettas charts the decay of the Empire and the rise of a new generation which is deeply hostile to the myths of the 'golden days.' The power of the 'Islam Quintet' lies both in the story-telling and its challenge against stereotyped images of life under Islam.


  • Ali spins a web of tales that is as inventive and fantastical as the Arabian nights.

  • ... an Eastern Magic Mountain.

    London Review of Books
  • 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