Books Set in Turkey – Five Novels to Read Before You Travel

Rich in history, art and culture, Turkey is where Asia and Europe meet – all combine into a fascinating holiday destination. Why not try it before you travel with?

‘Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières

Through the eyes of the inhabitants of a small village in the southwest of Turkey, this novel tells the story of how modern Turkey was founded at the beginning of the 20th century. By means of ordinary men and women, characters that you will grow to love, you are witnessing the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the new, secular state that emerges. This is a book that recommended the tourist guides are known for, to help people understand the history of their country that little bit more.

“The Flea Palace” by Elif Shafak

The city of Istanbul is a character in this beautiful novel about the inhabitants of the Bonbon Palace. Through the life of the inhabitants of the ten rundown apartments, we have a portrait of contemporary Turkish society.

“Lighting” by Maureen Freely

Starting in 2005, this political thriller tells the story of the American ex-patriot Jeannie Wakefield, whose husband is gearresteerd for links to terrorism. The novel describes actual historical events as it gives to present a picture of the complex politics and society of modern Turkey, as well as throwing light on the background to day Turkish-US relations.

“Gardens of Water” by Alan Drew

northwestern Turkey was hit on August 17, 1999 by a powerful earthquake that slain some 17,000 people and left about half million without homes. This novel is the story of a Kurdish family during the earthquake and its aftermath, in their struggle to rebuild their lives and keep their culture intact to the challenge of living in a refugee camp, the influence of forbidden love, and the relentless desperation of their own grief.

“The Museum of Innocence” by Orhan Pamuk

a list of novels about Turkey would be complete without a book of Nobel laureate Pamuk. Like most of his books, Innocence is a great read and challenging, but this story of obsessive love gives a wonderful picture of the emerging modernity 1970 Istanbul. A brief affair with his young nephew leads 30-year-old Kemal to a lifelong obsession with the memory of their relationship. He begins to collect everyday objects for a museum to honor their love, and gives his life as if nothing else matters. In a wonderful mix of fact and fiction, you can quickly be able to visit Pamuk’s real “Museum of Innocence,” which he is currently building in Istanbul, a place where he plans a collection of alledaagse objects he has his life amassed display.

So if you are eager to find out as quickly as possible yourself on that plane to Turkey, making an early start with these novels. I can guarantee you that if you walk around the markets of Istanbul or sitting by the Bosphorus Strait watching all the activity, there will be many times when will feel the characters in these novels as they are right by your side.

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