Book look: the Istanbul experience

The controversies concerning religion, the relation between men and women and the fear from earthquakes are just three of many topics debated by two German correspondents in their new book about living in Turkey. After having reported from different countries and continents, Susanne Landwehr and Michael Thumann spent six years in Istanbul.

Their book “Neue Anschrift Bosporus. Wie wir versuchten, in Istanbul heimisch zu werden” is a personal reflection on their experiences in the Turkish megacity. While Landwehr faced patronising advices as she attempted to park her car, Thumann was invited to a fast-breaking organised by the ruling AK Party.

Landwehr and Thumann also write about their difficulties finding appropriate kindergarten and school for their two sons. They compare their Turkish bureaucracy nightmares with marathon application procedures in Germany, write about going to the hairdresser’s and getting along with landlords and neighbours. Without becoming superficial in their writing, Landwehr and Thumann describe their culinary discoveries and leisure time adventures in the concrete desert dominated by motorised traffic. An essential part of the book is dedicated to the intense conflict between conservative and liberal attitudes regarding women’s role in the society.

The authors tried to find out whether this clash is based on religious or sociological points of view. “Neue Anschrift Bosporus” is a well-balanced report featuring personal experiences and general information about life in the city which is so attractive to tourists and people from Anatolia hoping for fortune and happiness.

Susanne Landwehr and Michael Thumann – who do not shy away from expressing their opinion in any of the book’s chapters – have achieved what has become rare: creating an authentic portrait of a city and its inhabitants free from worn-out clichés.

Neue Anschrift Bosporus. Wie wir versuchten, in Istanbul heimisch zu werden
By Susanne Landwehr and Michael Thumann
Published by Rowohlt (www.rowohlt.de)

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

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