Saturday, May 26, 2012

Visiting Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence

This April I traveled to Turkey to participate in a trek along the Lycian Way on the southwest coast of Turkey (which I will write about in a subsequent post) and to experience the opening day of Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence. For those who might not know, Orhan Pamuk is a writer from Istanbul who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011. He is author of many novels and a collection of essays. His latest novel Museum of Innocence, a story about love and obsession, gave rise to the world's first museum based on a fictional character.

I didn't travel to Istanbul just to see the museum created by a nobel prize winner, I went to celebrate the grand opening with my Turkish friend, Deniz Aral, the managing director of the Museum, the woman who pulled it all together.

"I wore many hats. Upon accepting the position, I became a construction manager, a museum catalogist, a personnel manager, a gift store entrepreneur, a paralegal, a publicist, and trouble shooter."

Pleased with the way the Museum turned out, Deniz greeted scores of guests on Saturday, April 28th, including Orhan Pamuk's attorneys. The public was admitted in groups of about 60 to respect the fire codes in the neighborhood in which the museum, a period piece house, is located (see image below). It made for pleasant viewing of the many vitrines exhibiting memorabilia that pertained to the novel and the time period of the book's setting. My favorite piece was the wall of cigarette butts, which Pamuk's character Kemal pocketed after his lover snuffed them out. (There is a photo of this wall provided in the second link below.)

Even the crowd outside the Museum of Innocence was a kind of attraction. Here Deniz joked with a neighborhood dog trainer after the closing on opening day.


The following New York Times article offers more details of the event and about Orhan Pamuk:

This link offers images inside the Museum:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trekking the Lycian Way, Turkey

View along the Seven Capes Trek, Lycian Way, Turkey.

 Likya Yolu---The Lycian Way

Last month Marianne Sullivan, a friend since third grade, and I signed up for a trek along the southern Turkish coast with Middle Earth Travel. Our trek started near the town of Fethiye, on the west side of the Taurus Mountains and it ended at the ancient city of Patara, home of St. Nicholas. The weather kindly stayed in the high 70's. We met locals along The Way who invited our group of nine trekkers (Australian, American and Turkish) to rest with them and drink chai (tea).

We also saw a smattering of Greek and Roman ruins here and there. Apparently, our route neared Xanthos, where Alexandra and the Persians clashed forces. Bushwacking up one particularly steep, rocky and narrow section of the trail, I asked one of my hiking partners, a retired general in the Turkish air force, if he knew whether we were really walking in the footsteps of Cyrus and Alexander. He said, "If they did, I question their military intelligence."

Three books about this region that I have yet to read, which promise to delight are: Lycian Way by Kate Clow; The Western Shores of Turkey, by John Freely; and Lycia: The Land of Light, by Akist.

I recommend this trek to people who want to experience rural Turkish villages as well as those who like walking. We averaged about 8 hrs a day and the elevation gain ranged between 2,100 and 4,200 feet per day.  The meals were FABULOUS and cooked by locals at the villages we stayed in each night. We could not have found better guides or traveling companions. We hope to meet up with them all again one day. Perhaps on another Middle Earth trek...
Snow capped peaks of Taurus Mountains in distance.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Cover Debut for Night Letter

I am pleased to present the cover for Night Letter, a companion novel for Anahita's Woven Riddle, forthcoming in the fall with Nortia Press.

The cover art is by Rashin Kheiriyeh, an award-winning artist from Tehran. The cover design is by Lindsey Wells, a graphic designer. Interior art by Uzbek artists and others from the region of the the novel's setting add a richness to the book.

I look forward to seeing librarians, educators and others at ALA this June, where I will be signing arcs at the Consortium booth. Stop by for book marks, posters, and other interesting giveaways, including souvenirs from Uzbekistan.