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Turkish Delight

I’m writing this post from Istanbul, where I was fortunate enough to participate, if only briefly and rather marginally, in the frenzy of bibliophilia that is the Istanbul Book Fair. Perhaps more a book bazaar than an international rights fair on the order of Frankfurt or London, it nevertheless provides an excellent immersion into this rich, energetic and fascinating language market. Indeed, I felt increasingly abashed that my knowledge of Turkish fiction begins and ends with Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk and Elif Sefak (whose books I have not even read, but plan to). Happily, at my request and over a dizzying array of mezze and kebab, a kindly Istanbul-based agent assembled a brief primer on contemporary Turkish fiction. She recommended that I check out the works of Mario Levi, İhsan Oktay Anar, Tezer Ozlu, and in particular the curiously titled The Garden of Departed Cats by Bilge Karasu. In addition to Turkish colleagues, I also met editors and agents from all over the world, and had an opportunity to compare notes on subjects familiar (the meteoric rise of the e-book, the role of Amazon.com) and less so (the fixed prices of books in many European countries). It’s always refreshing—and often reassuring—to see that despite the considerable challenges it faces, book culture is not only surviving, but adapting and thriving, throughout the world.

2 Responses to Turkish Delight

  1. *I am Jack’s inflamed sense of jealousy.*

    I LOVE Istanbul. Eat a lahmajun for me.

  2. Steve says:

    I can’t see the words “Turkish delight” without thinking about “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” Imagine my surprise, as a child, when I had a chance to actually eat the stuff. Unlike the Narnian version, I found the real thing, well, less than delightful.

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