Elif Safak is who I want to be when I grow up... that's probably not helpful to you.
Here's a quote to give you an idea of her mindset:
“Istanbul makes one comprehend, perhaps not intellectually but intuitively, that East and West are ultimately imaginary concepts, and can thereby be de-imagined and re-imagined.”
Or how about Wikipedia's summary:
Elif Shafak (sometimes spelled Elif Şafak), (born 1971, Strasbourg, France) is an award-winning writer and the most widely read writer in Turkey. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages. She blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling to generate fiction that is both local and universal. Her work draws on diverse cultures and literary traditions, as well as deep interest in history, philosophy, oral culture, and cultural politics.
She's a global citizen.
What do I mean by that? I guess you could say she fits into the Pomegranate Club - not an apple, not an orange, always seeking to bridge cultural divides. Of course, she does this best through her literature, often addressing topics such as minorities and women's issues. The Bastard of Istanbul is probably her best known work in English, but her latest The Forty Rules of Love is quickly catching up.
Here's the Booklist reiew of The Bastard of Istanbul
*Starred Review* The new Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk has faced charges for making anti-Turkish remarks regarding the long denied mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Acclaimed Turkish writer Shafak has also been hauled into court for "insulting Turkishness." The case was dropped, and her bold and penetrating tale of the tragic repercussions of the Armenian genocide will live on. In her second novel in English following The Saint of Incipient Insanities (2004), Shafak tells a many-faceted, mischievously witty, and daringly dramatic story that is at once a study in compassion, a shrewd novel of ideas, a love song to Istanbul, and a sensuous and whirling satire. The novel's ruling force is gorgeous Zeliha, the unapologetically sexy proprietor of an Istanbul tattoo parlor. An unwed mother at 19, she has raised her daughter, Asya (now 19 herself and obsessed with Johnny Cash), in a chaotic, food-centric household that includes her mother, grandmother, and three sisters: Banu, the pious clairvoyant; Cevriye, the high-strung history teacher; and Feride, the neurotic. The sisters haven't seen their Americanized brother, Mustafa, for almost 20 years, and are stunned when his 19-year-old stepdaughter, Armanoush, whose mother is from Kentucky and whose father is Armenian, arrives in Istanbul to search for her Armenian roots. As Asya and Armanoush forge a tentative friendship unaware of all that they actually share, others panic over the looming revelation of shocking secrets. Shafak weaves an intricate and vibrant saga of repression and freedom, cultural clashes and convergences, pragmatism and mysticism, and crimes and retribution, subtly revealing just how inextricably entwined we all are, whatever our heritage or beliefs. Donna Seaman
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Elif Shafak tours US with "Black Milk"