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The Turk and My Mother

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  251 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Every family has its secrets. But toward the end of his life, George decides to tell his daughter the story of his mother and the Turk. This initial revelation leads to a narrative tour de force that follows a family through four generations and around the world—through love, marriage, and betrayal, through illness, death, and war. Mary Helen Stefaniak's charming and flawe ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 17th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 423)
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Sweetdhee

Ya, ampun!!
Keluarga ini ribet bener, yak!



Sepanjang cerita yang ada di kepala cuma, "lho, jadi sebetulnya ini ceritanya gimana? ini siapanya siapa? ini fokusnya lagi menceritakan apa sih?"
Dan walaupun diambil dari sudut pandang Georgie, tapi nyaris keseluruhan cerita terasa seperti racauan Jelena, atau yang sering dipanggil keluarganya sebagai Staramajka.
Belum lagi alurnya yang maju mundur loncat-loncat tak terkira membuat saya hampir menyerah dan lebih memilih untuk tidur dibanding keterusan pus
...more
Endah
Mary Helen tak pernah membayangkan, bahwa keluarganya mempunyai riwayat sejarah dan silsilah yang demikian ruwet. Mereka adalah keluarga imigran berasal dari Novo Selo, sebuah desa kecil di Kroasia, ribuan mil jauhnya dari Milwaukee, Amerika Serikat, tempat tinggal mereka sekarang.

Akar pohon keluarga mereka berawal di Novo Selo itu, puluhan tahun yang lalu, awal abad 20, saat-saat menjelang perang dunia pertama. Ayahnya, Georgie, adalah cucu dari Jelena yang lebih sering disebut Staramajka, seo
...more
 Δx Δp ≥ ½ ħ
Buku pertama yang dibaca tahun 2010 dan langsung meninggalkan kesan mendalam :D

sebuah novel dg gaya bertutur yang khas, cerita yang unik dan penuh teka-teki serta penokohan yang kuat.

tentang sejarah sebuah keluarga imigran jauh sebelum mereka mengungsi ke Amerika, sebuah desa terpencil nan damai, yang terusik dan bergolak dg kedatangan si orang Turki yang misterius

novel yang sangat lincah dan lihai dalam memainkan emosi pembaca, penuh canda namun juga sarat tragedi

Sebuah cerita indah tentang seb
...more
Jennifer
Given the title, I thought that this book would be about an illicit love affair between a married woman and a Turkish man. The book was so much more than that.

The book starts off set in the 1914 where a husband sets off to America, leaving his new wife back in Europe in a small village, along with his mother and the rest of the extended family. Although something may transpire between "the Turk" and the wife, this is but a small part of the story. The story follows the family as they rejoin the
...more
Elif Seçkin
Kitap hakkında her ne kadar çarpıcı tarzında yorumlar yapılsa da ben beğenmedim.Aslında kitabı seçerken konusu ilgimi çekmişti ama hiç beklediğim gibi değildi.Çarpıcı bir hikaye diyor fakat hikaye ne kadar çarpıcı olursa olsun anlatım tarzı insanın ilgisini çekecek şekilde değildi.İnsan okurken sıkılıyor çünkü olayları o kadar dağıtarak anlatmış ki zihnimde toparlamakta zorlandım.Kitabın isminde ki karakterler sadece başlarda geçiyor. Sonrasında daha başka konuyla alakası olan olmayan bir sürü ...more
Natalie
Svaka obitelj ima svoje tajne. No, pred kraj svog života, George ipak odluči ispričati priču o svojoj majci i Turčinu. Ta početna objava dovodi do zanimljive priče, koja prati obitelj kroz četiri generacije i obuhvaća sve od ljubavi, rata, braka, izdaje, nostalgije za domovinom, bolesti, i smrti. Pripovijedanje mi se čini mrvicu konfuzno, zbrčkano, oponaša način na koji se pričaju priče u krugu obitelji: isprekidano, dio po dio, s vremenom se doznaju nove činjenice i pojedinosti, različiti pripo ...more
Mom
Have you ever sat with a group of immigrants, perhaps older members of your family, as they tell stories of the auld country? Details are exaggerated, secrets are told (or not), there are multiple versions of the same story, family bonds are strengthened and laughter abounds. This is that kind of story. Sometimes it was hard to follow the plot and all the characters, sometimes I wondered about the veracity of what a character was saying, but always I was fascinated.

In this book, Mary Helen Stef
...more
Anita Daniel
Every family has histories, every heart has secrets, and when they slowly revealed, we still have choices to believe it or not.
From three generations of this Novo Selo - Milwaukee family, Mary Helen told us the untold stories by using her father, Georgie as the story teller for most part of the book. Separations, forbidden love, passion, secrets and everything during war to these days. And the plot is so full of mixed-traveled-heart all around the world, full of charming and strong characters.
I
...more
Stephanie
I wavered between 2 stars and 3, but went with 3 b/c the writing is very well done, and the characters are charming, interesting, and varied. This book follows various members of a family from Croatia, I think, as they either emigrate to the US, stay behind, or join WW1 in Europe. Their stories weave together in a very complex manner. I also did 2 stars, though, because nothing much happens, it is not terribly exciting, or mysterious, or happy, or sad, and it didn't cause me to have a reaction o ...more
A. Moses Levitt
Cover buku ini menarik. Seperti covel film India atau Timur Tengah. Memberikan kesan "kamasutra" meski baru mulai membacanya.

The Turk and My Mother adalah sebuah kisah sejarah keluarga dari Novo Selo (kehidupan sulit selama masa perang karena para pria dalam keluarga itu telah meninggal atau meninggalkan rumah untuk ikut perang atau pergi ke Amerika)pada masa setelah Perang Dunia I. Dalam keluarga itu hidup empat orang perempuan, ibu mertua (Staramajka), menantu (Agner )Rosa (Adik Agnes) dan se
...more
KJ
I really enjoyed this book but strangely enough I had a bit of dread and/or anxiety when I was about to read it. Without getting into too much detail and spoiling it, it was anxiety causing as you were worried that the various love affairs/true matches, etc, were not going to work out. I LOVED that at every turn there was a truth behind what was on the surface. It was amazing how it was so tangled and yet so simple and fun to figure out. There were a few matches that I barely picked up on, which ...more
Alvi Harahap
Mary Helen Stefaniak writes of this country as the great melting pot, where our ancestors have come from all over the world, from the old countries of Russia, Italy, Ireland, from a Europe stressed by conflict and the rise to power of demagogues. They brought their transplanted hopes to their new country, where they bloomed again, creating a new cultural identity with roots nourished by ancestors. These are real people, once youthful and driven by dreams and expectation like any emerging generat ...more
Nora Sabrina Sirait
Buku yang aneh karena: alurnya yang melompat-lompat. Misalnya ada satu bagian yang menceritakan ketika anaknya "my Mom" masuk rumah sakit karena berkelahi. Nah paragraf berikutnya langsung bercerita tetang masa muda si anaknya "my mom" yang sama sekali tidak berhubungan dengan cerita di paragraf sebelumnya tanpa keterangan apapun yang menandakan bahwa cerita sudah di tahun yang berbeda. Gaya penulisan ini banyak sekali di dalam novel ini.
Sehingga waktu membaca, pembaca pasti sering mengalami dis
...more
Elizabeth
Okay, I had to draw a family tree after I read this book to reinforce the relationships in my mind! I loved this book. Set in both Croatia and Milwaukee, WI we see parallels in the family history of a family on both sides of the ocean. I loved the passions of the characters that lead them to actions/affairs which make them personal, human, and interesting to their descendants! (even if the family tree becomes a little questionable) The power of attraction is explored in this book. Also, how soci ...more
Rwildfon
I enjoyed The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia so much that I thought I would try another work by Mary Helen Stefaniak. To my great surprise this story is about Milwaukee! - near and dear to my heart. I love the way the author weaves in story, she just keeps twisting and turning all kinds of corners. This story is about immigrants to Milwaukee from Croatia - early 1900's and the connections between people, the stranger than true story of a certain family that makes one wonder how many other families ...more
Rina
Haduh, novel ini asik banget. Ditulis dengan cerdas dengan adegan-adegan seperti kita menonton film. Dan terasa nyata, seperti kehidupan kita sendiri. Alurnya maju-mundur dengan alami. Kalau sedang mengingat dan bercerita tentang masa lalu, orang memang bisa seperti mengalaminya lagi.

Dan kocak ceritanya. Betapa setiap orang punya rahasia yang tak terduga.
Carmel
I really wanted to love this book, but found it very hard work. A real struggle
Trina Kubicki
Good book but it needed more detail. Fairly short for the stories it told.
Cindy
This book was actually just like talking to an old relative, maybe a grandmother or great aunt. They tell many stories, many of which are touching and amazing and that inform you of what life was like in the old days or old country. But at the same time, sometimes the stories wander off, or are hard to follow. Sometimes it's hard to keep straight all the names of all the people they talk about. Sometimes you sort of daydream in the middle of them telling you their stories :) And sometimes, just ...more
David
Stefaniak has a wonderful way of developing her characters and the story. It really feels when I read that the story is told as only the characters themselves could tell it, just as the narrator himself notes the way that his grandmother tells stories. For me this makes the book an absolute delight to read. The story is so warm, so personal. I found it to be extremely emotionally engaging. At times laugh out loud funny, at others eyes tearing up touching, at all times interesting. In short, a ma ...more
Jackson
The story of a family with lots of secrets, this covers a lot of early 20th century history of people in EurAsia and U.S. I thought it was unusual to read of people who always longed for home, or who never *wanted* to go the U.S. From my social studies class, didn't everyone want to be here? At any rate, it was a fast and fun read. There was nowhere near the grisliness of the Atwood books, though any story involving Cassock soldiers is bound to have some
Sue Braunschweig
I finished this book more than six months ago and the characters are just as fresh in my mind. I loved the narratives slow reveal of bits and pieces of family stories regarding romance/secrets and one generation caring for the next in the best way they know how. The images Stefaniak created regarding the village in the "old country" and immigration experience here in Milwaukee were memorable. I loved the music, the flowers and love that she portayed here.
Lynne
This multi-generational novel unfolded in layers, circling back from one time to another, one country, one family member to another, revealing a little more of the complete picture each time. The author describes it as braiding. I found it confusing at times. I enjoyed the Milwaukee setting for the Croatian immigrants and the language from my past, when we lived in Yugoslavia: "Dobro jutro," Staramajka said. "Da," he said, "Cekaj..."
Janell
The Turk and My Mother held a lot of promise for me of an interesting book. While it is an interesting collection of stories, I found that the style in which they were presented - a lot of jumping back and forth - detracted rather than added to the enjoyment of the reading.

I may go back at a later date and re-read this book to see if I can follow it a bit better the second time around. I still want to give the stories a chance.
Marvin
The author is a woman from Iowa City who had two daughters who participated in Young Footliters productions with our daughters. I had enjoyed some of her short stories I'd read, & the jacket copy had me really looking forward to this celebration of the stories passed along the generations of an immigrant family (in this case Croatian immigrants to Milwaukee). It was OK but didn't, to my mind, live up to its promise.
Fanie
Sep 24, 2007 Fanie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who hasn't read it
Shelves: modernlit
i loooveee this book....sejak halaman pertama gw langsung jatuh cinta sama buku ini. kisah mengenai 3 generasi sebuah keluarga imigran dari Polandia. kisah cinta terlarang, rahasia-rahasia terpendam, penderitaan perang, semuanya terangkai dengan kalimat-kalimat yang sederhana namun indah dan menyentuh, dibalut dengan latar belakang budaya Eropa Timur yang kental.
Amy Ramponi
I hated this book. HATED it. Boring. Story boring. Characters boring. The only redeeming quality was I enjoyed reading about Milwaukee's history.
Maggie
At times, I really loved this. But I thought a lot of it was sort of rambling and confusing. It started out really strong and then just fell apart towards the end for me. It was interesting from the perspective of learning about a different culture and their experiences immigrating to the US.
Micki
This was a pretty good book- kept me interested, although it was a little hard to follow. The information from the author indicated that this was part of the goal- to write the book like it might sound as a family story, told by different family members, so I guess it was successful then.
LizG
Loved this book with all its the twists and turns. It has the ring of authenticity, from the rich and foibled personalities to the thorough description of the cultural climate of the era. Exceptionally well done. I didn't want it to end, but I couldn't put it down.
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161562
Mary Helen Stefaniak is the prize-winning author of The Turk and My Mother, Self Storage and Other Stories, and The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia. She lives in Omaha and Iowa City.
More about Mary Helen Stefaniak...
The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia: A Novel Self Storage and Other Stories

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