Elif Shafak, arguably Turkey’s best female author, gives a speech at TED talks about herself, about writing and life in general. A delightful 20 minutes video that is worth spreading.
Elif Shafak is a prominent figure in Turkish literature and culture. Her TED talk is a must-watch, as she speaks about her life, writing, and the beautiful chaos of Istanbul. Shafak is a master at blending Eastern and Western cultures, giving her readers a unique perspective on Turkish society. Her books are a perfect example of this, as she weaves together two story strands – one with a fictional character filled with western norms and rational thinking, and the other based in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, a city she deeply adores. She explores both strands without weighing one over the other, and remarks how they are not like “water and oil” – they do mix, especially in a city like Istanbul where East and West mix intensely, incessantly, amazingly.
Shafak’s novel “The Forty Rules of Love” is a great example of her storytelling abilities. It tells the story of the influential poet Rumi, and his development from being a preacher to finding his true destiny in poetry and the endless love of the universe. The other story strand takes place in the 21st century and follows a middle-aged American woman who stumbles upon Rumi’s poems and rethinks her life. Shafak’s ability to bring the reader closer to Rumi’s philosophy and Sufism is intriguing in its simplicity and modesty. She manages to combine meaningful content with an enthralling story and memorable characters.
Shafak’s work is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Turkey and its potential for blending the old and the new. Her unique perspective on Turkey and the world around us is refreshing and thought-provoking, and her ability to convey it in a compelling and relatable way is truly remarkable.
Living in Turkey right now as a child of western civilization, the discovery of this author obviously has a lot of personal value to me, simply because it fits my current situation. I feel like one of one of her characters, being fascinated by Istanbul, not being able to leave this city behind and discovering new sides of it everyday, I can deeply emphasize with both her characters and her own fascination with the city. And I am not the only one. – A random comment online