Twelve Camels For Your Wife

I often get asked to review books. I usually politely decline. But sometimes something grabs my attention and this is one such time. A great title helps and this is a great title – Twelve Camels For Your Wife: An Englishman’s Lifelong Love Affair With Turkey. This is what I thought.

Author George Dearsley isn’t the first Brit to fall for Turkey and he certainly won’t be the last. But his account of a longstanding love affair with the country is a real delight – an astute, beautifully-penned story of an Englishman abroad. What starts as a madcap road trip to Japan in a royal blue Bedford van, twists and turns, anecdote by anecdote, into an entertaining and touching tale of a courtship with the land he now calls home. It made me feel so nostalgic for my own times past. There are some very funny and well-observed scenes about things that many expats will instantly relate to: the unfathomable bureaucracy, the language mishaps, the surprising customs. And there are some wonderful turns of phrases (‘We came, we saw, we conkered. The area was awash with chestnut trees.’). But it’s his depiction of the Turkish people, the friendships he makes along the way and ultimately his affection for a small village 40km northeast of Selçuk (‘There were many more horses and donkeys than cars’) that tugs at the heartstrings. Funny, insightful and poignant.

Turkey Street: Jack and Liam move to Bodrum – Review

A big hand to insideoutinistanbul for the thoughtful review of Turkey Street. I’m chuffed!

Turkey Street: Jack and Liam move to Bodrum – Review.

Turkey Street is Open for Business

Turkey StTurkey Street is an ancient road ‘… just wide enough for two emaciated camels to pass each other unhindered’. Now you can take a stroll along its winding path following in the strappy sandals of Alexander the Great as he tried (and nearly failed) to ‘…wrest old Halicarnassus from the doughty Persians’. But be wary of the ‘…motorcades of Nissan tanks flanked by Vespas on amphetamines’, something Alexander never had to contend with. Turkey Street is now open for business. Relax, open a bottle, kick off your heels and maybe grab the Kleenex.

The real strength of Turkey Street though is that at its heart is a genuinely touching love story.

 Amazon Review

Five Star Review

Greetings from a wet, blowy Norwich. Oh, to be in Bodrum once again. Nevertheless, Liam and I will be popping open the bubbly later to celebrate. This one’s been a bit of a labour of love. Thank you so much for all the pre-orders and messages of support. I’m chuffed.

Turkey Street: Jack and Liam move to Bodrum is officially published today.

Order the paperback on Amazon | Buy the Kindle on Amazon | Other buying options

 With thanks to Annie from Back to Bodrum for the photo.

Top of the Travel Pops

Three days before the official publication of Turkey Street, the pre-released Kindle edition hit the top spot on Amazon in Middle Eastern Travel (as well as No 2 in LGBT Bios and No 5 in Turkey Travel Books – above more illustrious titles from Eye Witness, Rough Guide and even Orhan Pamuk). And that’s not all, the book’s already received two totally un-staged five star reviews. Blimey!

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Can’t Wait to Read the Sequel

I can’t remember the last time I published a review of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey on this blog. Generally, I try to keep my book business and random ramblings quite separate (until the sequel, Turkey Street, comes out, that is). But when I was sent an out-of-the blue critique from a total stranger in a distant land, unconnected to me or Turkey, I was rather taken aback and felt compelled to share it. Not as a boast, you understand, but as a humble thank you.

Perking the Pansies2 (464 x 700)“I would like to buy Jack a drink or five. He and Liam present as the kind of people I would like to know. “Perking the Pansies” conveys personality right from the start. I was instantly interested in knowing and understanding the characters.

Jack doesn’t spare the truth. His descriptions of characters strip away all the pretentions and leave them exposed for who they really are instead of who they pretend to be. That is an uncomfortable feeling and yet I did not get the impression that he was being cruel or hateful. It is uncomfortable because the truth often is.

It is also funny as hell. The use of figurative language is superb. I had to stop and write down quite a few memorable lines just to make sure I don’t forget them. The line “…his distracting buns quivering like two piglets in a sack,” comes to mind. Then his little aside about trying to find “… something funny to say about faulty alarm cocks,” is another good example. I can imagine the frustration of writers block when such a marvelous circumstance presents itself. It was funny and it created a connection to the author.

The book’s greatest strength is the connection to the author. Reading it gives such an intimate look at the life and thoughts of the writer that you come out of it feeling like you know him. He becomes a real person. Obviously the book is written much like a journal, relaying a first person account of everything, but that is not the true source of the realism. It is honesty. The little details like Jack standing in the mirror making a face lift with his fingers are so true to life that you have to believe it. It doesn’t matter if everything written is literally true or not, the effect creates truth.

I found myself rooting for Jack and Liam not to give up. I wanted them to stay in Turkey and make a happy life. Sometimes their naïveté scared me. When Liam says that “We’re infidels and Hell-bound anyway so it hardly matters what we get up to,” I was afraid for them. Religious fundamentalists are not known for rational thinking. So many things could go wrong. When Uzgun was killed it highlighted the potential danger. I was vicariously proud of the courage and fortitude Jack and Liam showed by staying in Turkey.  The message is a good one. Things will only change if everyday people are brave enough to live everyday lives.

It was great. I can’t wait to read the sequel.”

Destin

Helpfully, Destin also posted a cut-down version of the review on Amazon.com. Good reviews do sell books and every little helps as they say at Tesco’s. This diminutive, myopic, ex-pretty boy with his best years behind him is chuffed to bits and eternally grateful to all you kind reviewers. Thank you.

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