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Sins & Innocents by Burhan Sonmez

Sins & Innocents

By Burhan Sonmez
1 Contributor

Two young people from foreign lands meet in a shop in Cambridge: Brani Tawo, a Kurdish political refugee from Turkey, and Feruzeh, who had fled to the UK from revolutionary Iran. Slowly, their love begins to grow, fed by stories, a shared love of literature and a subtle recognition of their mutual displacement. Brani Tawo narrates vignettes from his family history, vivid tales that evoke old legends: shepherds struck by lightning, soldiers returning home with war trauma, blood feuds that destroy families, bears mauling villagers in search of stolen cubs and a photographer who carries news to the villages in the form of the portraits he takes. These dark, inherited memories, combined with his own melancholy nature and chronic insomnia, weigh on Brani Tawo, who often seeks contemplative solace in graveyards. Over time, however, drawn by Feruzeh's quiet radiance, he begins to reach a freer place within himself. Feruzeh also harbours grim family secrets, and when she suddenly returns to Iran to attend to an emergency, Brani Tawo knows what he must do - Sins and Innocents is a warm, intimate love story redolent with the (often harsh) music of Central Anatolian village society as well as the Cambridge sophistication of Wittgenstein, Brooke, Grantchester Meadows, colleges, churches and cafes.

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