THE SAINT OF INCIPIENT INSANITIES by Elif Shafak

Publisher Farrar Straus & Giroux, September 2004

The stunning English-language debut of an acclaimed Turkish author

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 Omerís unruly ways, his motherís 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.

"This is an exhilarating roller coaster ride of a novel-a breathless and vivid journey into the lives of a motley assortment of brilliant, obsessive, and often troubled young immigrants, and an American whom one of them marries. With its themes of displacement, its Boston-area setting, and its ease with academic topics, Shafak's novel suggests Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake with the amplifier cranked up all the way to eleven. A work replete with dazzling wordplay, an infatuation with pop culture, and a fearless intellect, The Saint of Incipient Insanities marks Elif Shafak as a compellingly original voice in 21st Century fiction."
-- Adam Langer, author of Crossing California

"Elif Shafak offers us an indelibly haunting portrait of contemporary America, in all its sexual/ethno/religious contortions. Goofy, sad, wise, and heart-breakingly funny, her novel is a bittersweet delight to read."
--Fernanda Eberstadt, author of The Furies

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