The Executioner's Race

Andrew Bynom

Published by Aqueous Books, 2015
ISBN 10: 0692510400 / ISBN 13: 9780692510407
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The Executioner’s Race... A female calligrapher in Ottoman Istanbul is condemned to death and imprisoned for turning holy prayers into faces and animals, for “reassembling the word of God.” Her only chance at life—a privilege rarely granted to a woman—is to win a race against a bostanci, one of the Sultan’s guards and executioners. Seven years later, in 1841, a man named Andersen travels to Istanbul and learns of the calligrapher Zeynep from a Turkish florist. Andersen, who is to become a great name in nineteenth century literature, sets out to tell the tale of the calligrapher and uncover the outcome of her story. What happened to Zeynep, and is the florist telling him everything he knows? The Executioner’s Race is a cleverly wrought and intriguing puzzle of a tale.

Review: In this impressive debut novel, Andrew Bynom captures both the mystery of nineteenth-century Istanbul and the magical qualities of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Weaving together the stories of an exiled female calligrapher and Andersen himself as he tours Ottoman Turkey, Bynom provides an artful and captivating meditation on aesthetics, politics, and faith. It's hard to believe The Executioner's Race is a first novel. -David Anthony, author of Something for Nothing Andrew Bynom's The Executioner's Race is an inventive and beguiling mystery about the self transfigured by art. Every carefully wrought sentence speaks of our ongoing struggle to tell our own story while joining it with the stories of others. Bynom's novel transports us, as the best novels do, to places we've never been, allowing us to see our own in a new light: Constantinople and its shimmering strait of Bosphorus, through the mysteries of Sufism, and into the gloriously serpentine heart of Zeynep, its calligrapher hero. A fine and startling debut. -Scott Blackwood, author of See How Small, a New York Times "Editor's Choice" pick and a 2015 Best New Book selection by both Amazon and People Magazine, et al Andrew Bynom's debut novel expertly braids the epic love story of an exiled calligrapher with an audacious reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen's travels in Istanbul. The late Ottoman setting is haunting and fantastic, and the prose flows with the vibrancy and elegance of calligraphy, delivering a steady stream of tangible delights for the reader. The Executioner's Race celebrates the magic of writing and storytelling, but it is also a demonstration of that magic. -Eric Lundgren, author of The Facades

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Title: The Executioner's Race
Publisher: Aqueous Books
Publication Date: 2015
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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