Abundant with history, art and culture, Turkey may be the place where Asia and Europe meet — all combining to produce a fascinating holiday destination. But Turkey includes a complex history, and if you truly want to get beneath the skin of the intriguing country, then reading books occur Turkey is a superb place to start. The novels below will help you to scratch beneath the surface of the tourist brochures and holiday posters, deepening your knowledge of this beautiful and passionate country. You will want to give them a chance before leaving on your travels?
‘Birds without Wings’ by Louis de Bernières
Through the eyes of the residents of a small village in southwestern Turkey, this novel tells the story of how modern Turkey was created at the turn of the 20th century. Through ordinary men and women, characters you will grow to love, you are able to witness the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the new, secular state that emerges. This is a book that tourist guides have been recognized to recommend, to greatly help people understand the history of their country just that tiny bit more.
‘The Flea Palace’ by Elif Shafak
The town of Istanbul is a character it self in this delightful novel about the residents of the Bonbon Palace. Through the lives of the residents of the ten rundown apartments, we have a portrait of modern day Turkish society.
‘Enlightenment’ by Maureen Freely
From 2005, this political thriller tells the story of American ex-patriot Jeannie Wakefield, whose husband is arrested for links to terrorism. As the story is investigated by an investigative journalist, we are taken back to 1970’s Istanbul and the following decades of political turmoil. The novel traces actual historical events since it gives a picture of the complex politics and society of present day Turkey, along with throwing light on the backdrop to present day Turkish-American relations.
‘Gardens of Water’ by Alan Drew
On August 17, 1999, northwestern Turkey was hit by a powerful earthquake which killed around 17, 000 people and left about 50 % a million without domiciles. This novel is the story of one Kurdish family throughout that earthquake and its own aftermath, because they struggle to rebuild their lives and keep their culture intact between the challenge of living in a refugee camp, the influence of forbidden love, and the relentless despair of their own grief.
‘The Museum of Innocence’ by Orhan Pamuk
A list of novels about Turkey wouldn’t be complete without a book by the Nobel-prize winning Pamuk. Like the majority of his books, Innocence is a hefty and challenging read, but this story of obsessive love gives a wonderful picture of the emerging modernity of 1970’s Istanbul. A brief affair with his young cousin leads 30-year old Kemal to a life-long obsession with the memory of their relationship. He begins to get mundane objects for a museum to honor their love, and his life passes as though nothing else matters. In a wonderful blending of fact and fiction, you may soon be able to visit Pamuk’s real ‘Museum of Innocence’ which he is currently building in Instanbul, a location where he intends to show an assortment of everyday objects he has amassed over his entire life.
So if you are itching to get yourself on that plane to explore Turkey at the earliest opportunity, make an early on start with these novels. I could guarantee that as you walk around the markets of Istanbul or sit by the Bosphorous Strait watching all of the activity, you will see many moments when the characters from these novels will feel like they truly are right with you.