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Three Daughters of Eve: The Confused Quest

Dealing with the indelible, Elif Shafak’s Three Daughters of Eve is translated by Daniela A. Gewurz and Isabella Zani, Rizzoli. Elif Shafak always deal with feminism and elevated themes. The story of this novel revolves around three friends. “Peri the confused, Shirin the sinner and Mona the believer.” Throughout the story, it seems that they are in pursuit of something, it may be God, happiness, or love. It’s a very unique novel that explains two different cultures Istanbul and Oxford. The author makes the reader want to transcend the boundaries of these places.

Peri, the protagonist is basically from Istanbul and she has grown up there. Peri’s family is a typical family of Turkey. Her parents are of different ideologies. Peri’s mother is a very religious woman who fears God and makes effort to live her life according to the teachings of God.. She wears the headscarf as well. Whereas, her father is a secularist. After her early education, Peri gets a scholarship and goes to Oxford University for higher education.

The story opens up with a polaroid picture, which Peri the protagonist sees after such a long time. The situation in which she comes across with that picture is as intense as memories related with that picture. A beggar snatches her bag and she runs after him like she is running after her past to catch it and to mend it, that she ruined fourteen years back. She sees the polaroid of her own with her friends and a professor. They are all united and it is like they have been glued together in a photograph. Their relation seems to be unexplainable as all of them come from different identities, different backgrounds and above all hold different beliefs. Being different, ties them together. Peri is so different that her dynamism tears them all apart.

Three Daughters of Eve, most importantly, discusses the character of Peri and her hunt down for God, love and faith. “God was a maze without map, a circle without a center; the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that never seemed to fit together. If only she could solve this mystery, she could bring meaning to senselessness, reason to madness, order to chaos, and perhaps, too, she could learn to be happy.” Story’s resonance takes us back in her past with flashbacks when she was a child, and then her present life in Istanbul. Her character advancement turns out to be particularly intriguing when she becomes acquainted with Shirin, a nonbeliever from Iran, and Mona, a religious Muslim.

Polaroid provides insight to Peri’s past. As story discloses past and present of Nazperi Nalbantoglu goes side by side in the novel. Elif Shafak has divided the novel into parts and chapters which reveals the hidden meanings and links between chapters. This book is systematized as a string of beads which are placed one after another. The preceding showing past and later shows present.

A writer who always deals with the feministic approach, Elif Shafak takes a female character as her protagonist. Through her main character, she wants to solve mysteries and questions that she thinks should be highlighted. In the novel, she made her character confused about religion and about living standards. And sends her on a quest to Oxford University to dissolve her confusion. But her quest makes her guilty.

In her novels, Shafak always deals with sensitive issues like in this one she presents her characters questioning the religion. She does not talk about Islam only, but also garners other religions’ views. In this novel, she also deals with the theme of God. In Oxford, Peri gets to meet believers of many gods that make her more confuse. So, a heavy debate on religion and god is prevailing throughout the novel.

In Three Daughters of Eve, Elif Shafak demonstrates the magnificence of diversity, while in the meantime she also gives us experiences that what are the rights of women in Turkey. Moreover, the writer also explains the problems of identity about foreigners, feminism, patriarchy and numerous different points.

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