Farewell: A Mansion in Occupied Istanbul - Ayşe Kulin, Kenneth J. Dakan
Excessive exposition may make for a graceless novel, but it's a fault I'm very glad of in this instance, since this book depends on the details of the events of the last year of the Ottoman Empire, 1920. The author's grandfather was the empire's final Finance Minister, and his story is the heart of the novel. On the one hand he simply can't imagine the end of the holy sultanate, but on the other he knows that the alternate government established in Ankara is doing much more to counter the imperial ambitions of the English occupiers than the sultan is. How can he help the cause of independence and still, somehow, be loyal to the sultan?

I did not find the other plots of the book so compelling; there is an overheated love story, domestic and marriage negotiations, discussion of the changing role of women in society (I ought to have found this interesting, but it just wasn't too well done); the young man in the story has some adventures fighting in the underground resistance, which the author takes as an opportunity to wave a patriotic flag, and which would be more exciting if the writing was better.

A painless read, and sometimes better than that. Congratulations are due to Kenneth J. Dakan for a smooth translation and helpful notes.