The Saint Of Incipient Insanities by Elif Shafak. New York. 2004. Farrar Straus Giroux. 0374253579.  353 pages. hardcover. Cover design by Charlotte Strick. 




THE SAINT OF INCIPIENT INSANITIES is the comic and heartbreaking story of a group of twenty-something friends, and their never-ending quest for fulfillment. Omer, Abed and Piyu are roommates, foreigners all recently arrived in the United States. Omer, from Istanbul, is a Ph.D. student in political science who adapts quickly to his new home, and falls in love with the bisexual, suicidal, intellectual chocolate maker Gail. Gail is American yet feels utterly displaced in her homeland and moves from one obsession to another in an effort to find solid ground. Abed pursues a degree in biotechnology, worries about Omer’s unruly ways, his mother’s unexpected visit, and stereotypes of Arabs in America; he struggles to maintain a connection with his girlfriend back home in Morocco. Piyu is a Spaniard, who is studying to be a dentist in spite of his fear of sharp objects, and is baffled by the many relatives of his Mexican-American girlfriend, Algre, and in many ways by Algre herself. Keenly insightful and sharply humorous, THE SAINT OF INCIPIENT INSANITIES is a vibrant exploration of love, friendship, culture, nationality, exile and belonging.



Shafak ElifElif Safak (or Shafak, born 25 October 1971, Strasbourg, France) is an outspoken Turkish author, columnist, speaker and academic. ‘As Turkey's bestselling female writer, Shafak is a brave champion of cosmopolitanism, a sophisticated feminist, and an ambitious novelist who infuses her magical-realist fiction with big, important ideas...’.Critics have named her as ‘one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary Turkish and world literature’. Her books have been published in more than 40 countries, and she was awarded the honorary distinction of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2010. Shafak has published thirteen books, nine of which are novels. She writes fiction in both Turkish and English. Shafak blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the myriad stories of women, minorities, immigrants, subcultures, youth and global souls. Her writing draws on diverse cultures and literary traditions, reflecting a deep interest in history, philosophy, Sufism, oral culture, and cultural politics. Shafak also has a keen eye for black humour, with ‘a particular genius for depicting backstreet Istanbul.’







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