Manhattan Book Review

Where the Sun Rises
By Suzanne Strong
Green Acre Publishing, $13.95, 271 pages, Format: eBook

Where the Sun Rises is a novel told from alternating viewpoints of two childhood friends: Karin and Roza. The story begins in 2014 when the Islamic State, ISIS, or Daesh, as some choose to call them in protest, begin to invade the city of Kobane, in the Kurdish region of Syria. It’s a heartwrenching story of two women who give up everything to protect their families and the land that they love. Both Karin and Roza individually join the YPJ (Women’s Protection Unit) of the YPG, the Kurdish people’s militia to fight against ISIS. They reunite at a training camp for the YPJ.

Both women face heartbreaking losses and choose to fight for the YPJ out of fierce love for their families and the place they call home. Karin is studying to be a doctor, and Roza is a former English teacher and mother to a six-year-old. This novel traces the journey two highly educated young women take to become tough, skillful militia fighters. It also provides insight into how the women fighters are trained and how they are as fierce fighters as the men.

The civil war in Syria has many facets, and Where the Sun Rises opens a door to the perspective of the Kurdish people living in Syria. Reading it helped me realize how little I know about Kurdistan, Syria, and the geopolitics of the region. Although Karin and Roza’s story is fictional, I can easily imagine how many real-life women have similar stories. Karin and Roza’s courage will catch you and make you wonder at their ability to persevere. They are ordinary women who respond to extraordinary circumstances.

I cried throughout this story, and what I took from the ending was that we all have the ability to fight for what we love when the situation demands it, though the cost we pay is very high.”

New Reviews – Where the Sun Rises…

Sunrise in Kobane, Syria.

A story of devastating loss and ultimate triumph

“This is a war story unlike any I’ve read. Thoroughly researched with easy to read prose, I was initially intrigued by a story about female soldiers: what makes vibrant young women risk everything by taking up arms and leaving families already decimated by war? As each woman is drawn into the conflict we learn more about them: their culture, their land, their history and yes, why they take up arms. While we learn about how they train and fight, this was not the highlight for me. With each new chapter I was drawn deeper into the lives of these truly courageous women bravely confronting the horrors of ISIS. Together they suffer devastating losses but also experience the deepest love of friendship, sisterhood and sacrifice. The story builds to a tragic climax of seemingly senseless loss that will bring tears to many readers (as it did for me). But the final chapters show us the results of all they suffered, made all the more poignant by the historical truth it’s based on. My life is richer having read this novel. Definitely recommend it!” 

Amazon Customer

“A great account of what the Kurdish women and men achieved against a vile enemy. Not just a book about conflict but the conflicts that these women faced. A book that well documented the human struggles of all wars. I highly recommend it to all modern history buffs.”

Angus McGeachie

New Reviews for Where the Sun Rises…

Hello,

Here are some new reviews for Where the Sun Rises. 🙂 Thanks for reading. I hope your New Year is going well. 🙂

 A beautifully written, emotive novel; behold the fierce sisterhood rejecting tyranny.

Suzanne Strong’s affecting novel induced me to shed tears, swept me up in the moment as though I was, indeed, on the ground in Kurdish Syria, and had me on tenterhooks throughout.

I had the pleasure of reading ‘Where the Sun Rises’ over the New Year. On more than one occasion, I found myself with goose bumps and hairs upstanding – unable to put this book down for fear of missing what happens next.

I would highly recommend! Five stars!

Kathryn Le Gay Brereton 5.0 out of 5 stars

 

“Freedom crowns the heads of the free but only slaves know it’s value. In our society, being a wife or a daughter means you are not a person in your own right…”

This novel is much more than a story about war. Though the war against Isis provides the motivation of the action; this is primarily an intimate tale of two best friends who yearn for peace and equality and are prepared to sacrifice all they have to achieve it.

Sometimes we can switch off emotionally from the endless news cycle of wars in distant lands such as the fight against Isis in Syria. It seems so far away and our lives seem so different. The beauty of this novel is in its rich exploration of the characters of Roza and Karin. We come to know them and their rich culture and to recognise parts of them in us. Their story is told with compassion, feminine understanding and gentle humour.

Suzanne Strong’s skill and thorough research takes you deep into the lives and struggles of these Kurdish women in a memorable, compelling and emotionally touching read.

Heather Preston5 out of 5 Stars

Great Read

“Suzanne Strong has written a very powerful book that will tug at your heart. This is a story about the brave women who fought against the Daesh to save their town. An eye-opener and a tearjerker to the way they sacrificed themselves for their comrades. This is a book that you won’t want to put down until you finish it.”

Maggie Long

5 out of 5 Stars

It was amazing.

“‘Where the Sun Rises’ was difficult to put down. It’s a gripping read, amazingly researched and written with great sensitivity. I highly recommend as a narrative on a difficult but vitally important topic.”

Marilyn Cowling  – 5 out of 5 Stars

Where The Heart Is

“This is a one-of-a-kind, fantastically ambitious novel. I’d never considered the realities of women in war, let alone their personal, emotional and familial stories. Suzanne Strong has provided us with dramatic insight into this, with the grim reality of war counterpointed with sensual tastes and textures for relief and cultural flavour – a backdrop to these women’s hellish predicament.

What does it mean to fight against an enemy when you don’t have a recognised homeland?

A remarkable and necessary tale of women’s friendship in war, and the Kurdish struggle for a safe place called ‘home’.”

Claire Doyle 5.0 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 dilemmas, their joys and sorrows while beautifully weaving in the culture of the land. I very much enjoyed this book!”

Amazon Customer – 5.0 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

Unique & gritty

“A wonderfully unique read, highlighting the horrors of war while exploring the relationships between women determined to fight and protect their region. At times harrowing and heart-wrenching but also filled with hope. Well worth a read.”

Dawn Brookes 5.0 out of 5 stars 

Filming for Digital Author Online…

Hey guys,

Yesterday, I was invited to do some filming for the Sunshine Coast Libraries Digital Author Online platform.

It was very good, I was able to talk about Where the Sun Rises. Tegan from the council was so lovely to work with. It should be interesting to see how the video comes out next week. 🙂

Thanks for reading! Suz

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! 🙂

My novel Where the Sun Rises Released today!

After three years of research, writing, editing and travel finally my novel, Where the Sun Rises is launched today! Where the Sun Rises follows the story of two Kurdish women who take up arms against ISIS in the Syrian town of Kobane. I’m very excited to finally release my novel.

Click on the link below to order the e-book, it is available in print as well. Contact me for further info about how to get a hold of it. 🙂 Thanks so much! 🙂 Kind regards, Suz (It is available in other countries on Amazon and is available in print as well, it will become more widely available as well :))

Here are some reviews:

‘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, Lecturer, Macquarie University, Sydney.

“Strong has taken care to accurately present the reality of the lives of Kurdish women and the dramatic choices they make as fighters defending their land. The story is remarkable for the authenticity of the detailed portrayal of the geography, the intimate lives of the women fighters and the ferocity of the killing in which they are involved…Strong makes good use of the senses to convey the sounds and smells of battle and death and contrasts it with the delights of singing and dancing, the smell of freshly baked bread and the taste of goat’s cheese. The extraordinary amount of research undertaken pays dividends. Recollections of peaceful days and olive groves are neatly woven into the narrative, as are the reassuring pots of tea.

Powerful and credible, Where the Sun Rises is an eye-opener to a story we rarely hear.’

Dr Lynne Spender, Lecturer, UTS, Sydney.