New Reviews of Where the Sun Rises

Suzanne Strong

A powerful story of the courage of women

“I really loved Where The Sun Rises. It broke my heart in more than one place, but it really gave me a look inside the ongoing courage of the Kurdish women and their remarkable bravery and camaraderie in the face of a horrific enemy. After a terrific and heroic struggle, the story ends on a note of hope and promise for the future. The story of these remarkable women should be shared widely with the world for the sake of both those who were lost and for those who carry on.”

Jessica Ciosek5.0 out of 5 stars

“Having just read Where the Sun Rises by Suzanne Strong I am very impressed that it’s been launched when Turkey just evicted the Kurdish people – this is SO the book. Female fearless fighters – standing up for what they believe. So…

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New Reviews of Where the Sun Rises

A powerful story of the courage of women

“I really loved Where The Sun Rises. It broke my heart in more than one place, but it really gave me a look inside the ongoing courage of the Kurdish women and their remarkable bravery and camaraderie in the face of a horrific enemy. After a terrific and heroic struggle, the story ends on a note of hope and promise for the future. The story of these remarkable women should be shared widely with the world for the sake of both those who were lost and for those who carry on.”

Jessica Ciosek5.0 out of 5 stars

“Having just read Where the Sun Rises by Suzanne Strong I am very impressed that it’s been launched when Turkey just evicted the Kurdish people – this is SO the book. Female fearless fighters – standing up for what they believe. So well written it feels you are really there. Recommend it highly. “

Sue – 5 out of 5 Stars

“Loved this book. It took me to a place I will never be, amongst people I will never meet, but stories about this part of world often come up in the news. Until now it has been very easy to disconnect from the horror stories coming from these places. Now that I feel I have been there along side these remarkable women I will certainly connect on a higher level to the problems in this part of the world. Ms Strong has a very detailed style of writing which makes it easy to be totally immersed in the lives of the characters. Would highly recommend this read. “

Nell Taig  – 5 out of 5 Stars

Remarkable book that provides Invaluable insights into this sad and brutal war.

“Every day when I watch the news, I see images of the war-torn struggles of Kurdish people as a collective group. What Suzanne Strong’s powerful book Where the Sun Rises has managed to do is remarkable: she helped me get to know, care for and identify with those involved with the war on a more personal level. The main characters are women I would like to befriend and could not stop thinking about even after I finished reading the book.

Through Ms. Strong’s detailed writing, the reader vividly experiences the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of those regions. We learn about the political and religious conflicts that motivate an amazing group of women and the horrendous obstacles they must fight just to get bare human necessities: food, shelter, love and freedom. This novel is crucial reading for our modern world since the fighting in these regions continues. The compassionate insights apply not only to the sad and brutal stories of these Kurdish regions and their people but extends to basically all war ravished communities throughout history.

Where the Sun Rises is a classic worth reading in the canons of other great works depicting the horrors of war as well as strength of the human spirit, such as Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front and Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War. “

Arie David – 5 out of 5 Stars

5.0 out of 5 stars

A Timely and Important Read

” “I knew very little about the situation of the Kurdish people before reading Where the Sun Rises. Not only did I find it a gripping and emotional story, but I also came away with an appreciation for the history, culture, and current predicament of the people who have been in the news recently due to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

If you like inspiring stories about strong women, friendship, and family, this book is for you. And if you are less than expert in Kurdish history, Where the Sun Rises will open your eyes and heart. I recommend it!”

Always reading – 5 out of 5 Stars

This book has it all!

“A wonderful story that pulls at your heart strings while reminding you how strong and determined women can be. The author puts you right in the middle of their dilemas, their joys and sorrows while beautifully weaving in the culture of the land. I very much enjoyed this book!”

Amazon Customer – 5 out of 5 Stars

Where the Sun Rises…Kurdish Sun…

Hello,

I wanted to write about the title of my new novel Where the Sun Rises, and say that if or when you read the book you will know why I named the book this.

My reasons for naming the book this, are not what one would think straight away. After I named the book, I found out that the Kurdish flag had a sun in the middle of it! So, Where the Sun Rises can represent where the Kurdish people rose in the successful battle against ISIS in Kobane.

Also, after I named the book I found out that the Kurds have a website called the The Rising Sun, which represented their struggle for more autonomous regions, and how their nation is rising. To me, this was a sign that I had named the book the right title, for so many reasons.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day! 🙂

How people walk… :)

Hey guys,

Lately, I have been watching people walking…sounds weird hey? Not because I am a strange character haha…but because I was interested in how differently each of us walk, hold our bodies, how we crane our necks, do we look down, do we lead with our hips or do we drag our feet? How are our shoulders?

All of these details makeup our overall presence, the experience other people have with us, our aura. Most of us are not conscious of these details. We take it all in but don’t stop to look at it. Only strange writers notice these things. (haha). It is these beautiful minute elements of who we are that we need to put into our fiction. I wanted to work out how to recreate this on the page.

Those of you who are writers will know what I mean. 🙂 Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you guys. If you are a writer try to describe a character based on how they walk and hold themselves? Do they slouch? Or stand up straight? It is an excellent exercise and will make your characters come alive for your readers.

Recent reviews – Where the Sun Rises…

Amazon Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars

This book has it all!

October 15, 2019

A wonderful story that pulls at your heart strings while reminding you how strong and determined women can be. The author puts you right in the middle of their dilemas, their joys and sorrows while beautifully weaving in the culture of the land. I very much enjoyed this book!

Mrs. Alison Quigley

5.0 out of 5 stars

A timely story about Kobane

October 15, 2019Format:

With Turkish forces invading northern Syria, the release of Strong’s new novel Where The Sun Rises offers a timely and necessary insight into the conflicts of this region.

The focus in Strong’s novel is the village of Kobane, a Syrian town within walking distance of the southern Turkish border. In contemporary times – late 2019 – forces backed by Turkey are amassing to drive out the Kurds, but back in 2014-15, when the novel is set, the Kurds are pushing back against Daesh, an Islamic terrorist group. Although the conflicts are not identical, there are correspondences in what it means to be Kurdish against oppressive forces driven by religious imperatives.

We enter the story when Daesh are advancing towards Kobane. Karin, who is a medical student, is estranged from her fiancé, and is in the final stages of completing her medical degree. In a story that runs parallel to this, we are introduced to Roza, married mother of one, and teacher of English at a local school. It is soon evident the woman who are the focus of these alternating chapters have been strong allies in childhood. A decade later they still remain friends, despite their diverging paths.

When Karin’s brother, Mani, announces he’s off to join the war against Daesh, she laments that he lacks the imposing physique of a soldier.

“His shoulders seemed smaller and bonier than before, vulnerable somehow. She wanted him to be large and bulky, and felt a terrible dread of wanting to protect him but knowing she couldn’t.” Mani leaves for the war and when he doesn’t make it through, Karin decides to stand in place and fight in his honour. There is a female militia group she already knows about, and now she treks off to enlist. On her journey there she reflects on the irony of her decision: her life won’t be dedicated to saving lives – as it would have been in her medical career – but instead will be dedicated to taking lives away. We forgive Karin’s decision because it is clear she has so few choices. The border into Turkey is closed, the war puts a stop to her degree, and her family’s lives are endangered. Good people defend their territory even if it costs them their lives.

Roza wrestles with a similarly difficult decision. She has seen her husband go off to war and the school where she teaches is emptied of students. When she learns her husband has been killed, she struggles to be an effective parent for little Yez. Overcome with grief, she believes the best course of action is to take arms against her pain, and fight to obliterate the loss of her husband. Leaving Yez with relatives, she, too, joins the female militia. Roza and Karin meet at the military training camp and are grateful each has the other for this next harrowing chapter of their lives.

The experience of war brings Roza and Karin closer together, but ultimately the friendship implodes in a defining incident which is both harrowing and emotionally powerful.

Despite the central focus being war, there are keen moments of levity. In the midst of crossfire, we duck into a local bakery – still operating throughout the conflict. Tension is ratcheted down when characters cut loose with singing, dancing and the tembur. There is even an intervention from a gaggle of ducks.

“ “Chh, chh, chh,” Roza said to the ducks, getting them to move along, and guiding them into the nearest yard, relieved they didn’t have any young with them.”

It stands as a testament to Strong’s writing that while she has no direct experience of war, readers still feel immersed in an authentic experience. Take Strong’s description of Roza’s first experience killing Daesh:

“It was strange to see a connection between her fingers, some wood, metal, and powder, and taking a man’s life. Instantly she felt sick, an emptiness she had never experienced seemed to open up inside like a cavernous ravine, as she watched his deep thick blood oozing into the dirt.”

Key scenes are rendered in simple but powerful prose.

“Your daddy became a martyr today,” she told him. “He gave his life for us.” She could barely say the words; they seemed hollow. They embraced the dirt of the street. …It was as if they were the only people in the world.”

If you are curious about how women are inculcated into army life, if you are engaged with feminist empowerment stories, or if you enjoy learning about new cultures through a touchstone like war, I strongly recommend this novel. The story also serves as a sobering reminder of how fortunate most of us are not to be embroiled in conflicts so persistent and harrowing.

Highly recommended.

Syrian Kurdish women my novel is about…

YPG à Kobané7
 Some of the women from YPJ Brigade, at the battle of Kobane, February 2015
4 February 2015, 23:08:21
Source: VOA [Public domain]

Hey guys,

In light of recent events in Syria, I must mention that it is an attrocity that the area where I based this novel is now being attacked by Turkey. Below, is my blog about where my novel came from. But I must say I am extremely concerned and incensed that the Kurdish people in this area who fought Daesh are now being abandoned and have to try to survive another attack. The battle my novel is about was the battle for Kobane which is on the border with Turkey.

About the Battle for Kobane

Within the first month of when Daesh surrounded the town the world watched on, but no one helped the Kurds – thousands of people left. I remember watching it on the news. There were approximately a thousand civilians who stayed, and they only had rudimentary weapons in which to fight Daesh who had tanks and heavy military gear. This is why there were Kurdish protests all around the world for someone to step in. In the end Barrack Obama did act and the US air strikes did help the Kurds after one month of fighting on their own. They held Daesh off by giving their lives in street to street battles. There were a large amount of women soldiers who enlisted for this battle. This is what compelled and inspired me to write this novel.

This is the real detail of this book, based on real facts of the courageous fight made by a combination of Kurdish forces, including many women. These people were not soldiers to begin with.

I hope you enjoy my character’s stories, Karin and Roza who feel compelled to join the battle to defend their families and their land.

This battle was the first successful battle against Daesh and led to its demise in Syria. My book Where the Sun Rises is available on Amazon, in e-book or print format.

“Where the Sun Rises is an ambitious, compassionate and powerful novel. Sensory memories accessed through scents and tastes are used brilliantly to evoke the physical strain, tenderness and revulsion of war for female soldiers in the fight against ISIS. Their story deserves a far wider readership and Strong’s achievement lies in her ability to take us into their dangerous world.”…
Dr Toby Davidson, Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University, Sydney.

“Powerful and credible. An eye-opener to a story we rarely hear.”

Dr Lynne Spender, UTS Lecturer, Sydney. 

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