Book Review: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and

Image On Saturday, May 6, as part of the Pen World Voices Festival of International literature, the book, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints, was presented. This captivating travel book and memoir was written by authors Joy E. Stocke and Angie Brenner. It was held at Double Knot Galleries, in TriBeca NYC. The setting of this rug shop was the perfect atmosphere to showcase the book. The Turkish food, music and poetry brought to life the land that the authors fell in love with and take us through.

Anatolian Days and Nights is published by Wild River Books. This publisher is an outgrowth of the online magazine whose stories focus on the interconnectedness of society and culture. The memoir follows their interesting journeys through the far reaches of Turkey, exploring its history and tying it to modern life there. Each chapter was written by either Stocke or Brenner and begins with a quote. One quote is a Turkish proverb, ''A good companion shortens the longest road.''

The road to the creation of this book was in fact a long one. Ten years in the making, it is born of the friendship of two spirits that embraced wanderlust, curiosity and love of literature. Stocke and Brenner met on a balcony in Turkey assisting with a guesthouse for a mutual friend and became fast friends when they discovered their shared passion for the country. The authors said that they found success in collaborating for the book by 'checking their ego at the door.'

It took them time to take their different voices and make them sound cohesive, yet their efforts paid off resulting in a book that flows well. They paint a compelling picture of travel within Turkey told with great detail and care. Their use of poetic, descriptive language enhances experiences like the Dervish festival they attended, the Turkish bath, the beauty of Mount Arat, and the delightful food they enjoyed. Stocke and Brenner were able to cross the worlds of culture and gender. As American woman, they were welcomed by the Turkish men who wanted to share their country and culture.

They were also welcomed by Turkish women who otherwise may not have been able to share with them. They are honest about the challenges they encounter with checkpoints and unsolicited marriage proposals. They are aware of the stark reality of practices like honor killings in this land they love. Yet, the challenges are balanced with love and hope. Hope is seen in organizations they visited like KAMUR which cares for female victims.

Love is found in friends they have made and intertwined into their lives by being open to something different. Coming from Midwestern roots, which sooner fears differences like a country primarily filled with people of Muslim faith, these authors combat misinformation with knowledge. Whether you have visited Turkey, are planning to, or prefer living vicariously through others? travels, you will enjoy joining Stocke and Brenner on their journey. It will hopefully inspire you to embrace wanderlust and find a 'love affair' to call your own. (
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07