Monday, December 20, 2010

Elif Shafak

via wikipedia
Where do I even start?

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

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Elif Shafak tours US with "Black Milk"

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LTM said...

wow! Sounds like a cool book... chaotic, food-centric household... mmm... but "insulting Turkishness"? It's possible there's *one* difference in East & West, yes? ;p

Thanks, girl and Merry Christmas! :o) <3

Jules said...

She sounds like someone I'd like to read. Thanks for the insight. :)

BTW, I'm starting to look at people with that Pomegranate description of yours :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Sarah said...

What a fantastic review. I'll have to look it up on Kindle (when I get mine :)).

Old Kitty said...

What a beautiful and fantastic writer!! A most worthy Pomegranate!!! Thank you!!

Golden Eagle said...

She sounds like an amazing author. I'll have to check out her books! said...

Great post.
I have an award for you over at mine :O)

Lydia Kang said...

It sounds like she's really achieved something worthwhile. Thanks for blogging about her...I'll keep an eye our for her books now!

I'm also kind of freaked because the MC of my WIP is named Zelia. Weird.

Deniz Bevan said...

I really like Elif Safak and yet I *still* haven't read any of her books - they're sitting on my To Read pile still. Darn. Maybe I'll move them up the pile a little [g]

Anonymous said...

Hi Carolyn, if you haven't read yet, I strongly recommend you to read Love which is regarding about the love of Rumi and Tebrizi. Regards

Merry Christmas, Mutlu Noeller :=)

Volkan Abur

Carolyn Abiad said...

Volkan is exactly right. All of us should add "40 Rules of Love" to our TBR list! Especially since Rumi is one of my favorite poets. ;)

amesababe said...

I am reading it now- because of your review- it is very enjoyable-thanks.


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