Joy Stocke and Angie Brenner, one short, one tall, one married, one not, take us on a succession of visits to just about every corner of Turkey in their part-travelogue/part-personal memoir of Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey. The subtitle says it all, except that you could add “and with its men.” The book is divided into sections based on the dates of their visits, beginning with “Spring 2001” and ending with “Fall 2009,” with a few chapters to each section.
Joy, from New Jersey, and Angie, from California, take turns narrating their adventures—always together—through this somewhat maligned and misunderstood land. (“Locked up abroad” immediately comes to mind.) We get to see every area of the country, Istanbul to Kalkan to Trabzon to Van to Antakya, and many places in between.
Written by older chicks for older chicks, the book’s first goal, it seems, is to tell us about all the men they encounter. Very important is what these guys are wearing, the color of their eyes, hair, and skin. Not totally sure why I’m supposed to care about Habib, Orhan, Skrüyõ, or Fÿkmĩ, but I can smell the lemon-scented cologne from here.
Any more of this and I too will eventually feel “feminine and sexy.” As in many cultures, the men are absolutely starved for female companionship—a veritable Disney Land for women of all makes and models. However, as our authors discover, barbarism does rear its head in eastern Turkey with honor killings of wayward women.
Otherwise, Angie and Joy, who never explains why she just leaves her young daughter at home while she traipses around Asia Minor, do a commendable job in showing us the various regions of Turkey, with all its fascinating history, culture, and food. Pistachios seem to be in everything, which I would like.
F. Scott hopes to travel to Turkey one day, especially if he is ever starved for male attention.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Greenleaf Book Group LLC. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.