A disappointing read. Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, has such a rich history that I felt it was a cop-out to base the story (esp. given that it'sA disappointing read. Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, has such a rich history that I felt it was a cop-out to base the story (esp. given that it's the first book in the series) on "foreign" characters - that is, not the usual Istanbullu residents. Instead of Turks, or other ethnic peoples "native" to the former Ottoman empire, the plot features Russian émigrés, British language instructors, former Bolsheviks and Nazis. Even the supposedly "local" Jewish characters' names in the novel are not quite historically accurate (although the author does make note of this discrepancy in the text). Another irritating aspect is that the characters tended to use British idioms, or converse in a way different from the way I assume Turks speak amongst themselves. Something just didn't sound right during the intimate conversation between Ikmen and his pregnant wife, or the way the Russian family argued amongst themselves. And what's this about Ikmen carrying a bottle of booze wherever he goes, even to the police station? No, I don't buy that at all. Plotwise, the story is very weak, and even though the average murder mystery enthusiast can easily figure it all out early on, there is an extended scene towards the end where everything has to be explained and recapitulated, just in case there are readers who didn't "get it." But since the suspense has to continue, those privy to the full truth meet an untimely end, just before the authorities can get their hands on the truth and the proof... All this transpires in the most unrealistic way right at the plot's conclusion, and it's one authorial cop-out more than I am willing to forgive. ...more
Θέλω να σχολιάσω τον έντονο συναισθηματισμό του αφηγητή - ευτυχώς που μας εξομολογεί και τα ιδιαίτερα προσωπικά της ζωής του, αυτές η σπαρταριστές λεπΘέλω να σχολιάσω τον έντονο συναισθηματισμό του αφηγητή - ευτυχώς που μας εξομολογεί και τα ιδιαίτερα προσωπικά της ζωής του, αυτές η σπαρταριστές λεπτομέριες για τις γυναίκες που γνωρίζει, για να ισορροπήσει την κατάσταση και να χαμογελάσουμε λίγο που και που.
Ενδιαφέρουν έχουν για μένα οι αναφορές σε συγκεκριμένα σημεία των Χανίων και της Κωνσταντινούπολης, τα οποία γνωρίζω ήδη από πρώτο χέρι (όσα σώζονται ακόμα). Πράγματι ταξιδεύω πίσω στον χρόνο και βλέπω αυτά που αφηγείται, σαν να είναι δικές μου εμπειρίες. Θα επανέλθω σε λίγο με περισσότερα στοιχεία για το Ταχτακάλε στην Κων/πολη, ένα κτίριο που υπάρχει ακόμα, ξεχασμένο & κρυμμένο κοντά στο Αιγυπτιακό παζάρι (Mısır Çarşısı), και που το ανακάλυψα τυχαία....Ενθουσιάστικα την ημέρα που το επισκέφθηκα, ακόμα περισσότερο που διαβάζω για αυτό τώρα στο "Τα παιδιά του πολέμου"! ...more
Despite its age, this volume (in the Time-Life series* Foods of the World, copyright 1969, revised 1971) is a well-researched introduction to the regiDespite its age, this volume (in the Time-Life series* Foods of the World, copyright 1969, revised 1971) is a well-researched introduction to the region, spanning from Greece & Egypt all the way to Iran. The first chapter introduces the common elements of the cuisines of the nine nations that are covered in this travelogue, as the author (an American of Greek descent) discovers the landscape, the peoples, and the foods along the route. This is essentially why I treasure this old book - for the historical background, the explication of the culinary traditions uniting as well as differentiating the Middle Eastern cultures, and more than anything, the photographs that immortalize the people of the region as they prepare the food and consume it. In Greece, the focus is on the Easter festivities, in Turkey a farewell family feast, in Lebanon a stylish urban cocktail and mezze spread, in Jordan a Bedouin tent mansaf, in Iraq the archeological roots of the agricultural staples on which the region's cuisines are based, in Israel the multicultural origins of the colonial settlers, in Iran meals with tilemakers and carpetweaving craftsmen, in Egypt the street vendors.
* The main text is a hardbound album, and the majority of the recipes are printed in a separate spiralbound booklet (which I don't own). ...more