The Stone Woman

The Stone Woman:A Novel

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The third part in the internationally acclaimed Islamic Quintet

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