Elif Shafak’s Three Daughters of Eve begins sharply, as Peri, a wealthy, middle-aged Turkish woman, makes her way to a dinner party. Suddenly, Peri finds herself face to face with a robber, who takes her purse and shakes free its contents, including a prized Polaroid.
Watching the Polaroid flutter to the ground, Peri recalls her early days at Oxford University, a time of personal doubt about the existence of God. She and the two women from the photograph, the sincere Mona and the skeptical Shirin are “the three daughters of Eve,” and together they take a seminar on God. Peri is instantly infatuated with the mysterious professor, and as he pushes her to question her beliefs, she falls deeper for him and begins to panic.
The novel alternates between the present, as Peri encounters snobby members of Istanbul’s middle class at the dinner party and her disturbing memories of what happened with her professor. In striking, lovely language, Shafak considers Islamophobia, teacher-student relationships and terrorism of many kinds. Fresh and timely, this is an approachable novel of big ideas.
Written by: Elif Shafak