Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways's Reviews > A Fez of The Heart: Travels around Turkey in Search of a Hat

A Fez of The Heart by Jeremy Seal
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May 04, 13

Recommended to Richard Reviles Censorship by: Shovelmonkey1
Read in June, 2012

Rating: 3.25* of five

The Book Report: Author Jeremy Seal, British of course, found an elderly fex in his parents' attic and, in true Brit fashion, became obsessed with Turkey. I mean, what else is possible when one finds a fez in the attic?

I think an American would be more interested in how the fez got there, which parent had the Turkish man as a lover, what the hell the thing was...not leap straight into Turkophilia. But us colonials, we're just not as finely tuned as the Motherlanders to the nuances of life.

In other words; we're sane.

So off Jezza goes, in 1993 mind you, as a grown man, to indulge his peculiar obsession. He arrives in a Turkey that resembles the fez-wearing Turkey of his childhood interest very little. The story he tells us as we tag along with him on his voyage of discovery is that of Turkey's utterly fascinating reinvention of itself after the Great War swept away empire and sultan all in a day. We meet Turks old and young, and to a one they are as crotchety and odd as one could wish them to be. In the end, the hat that brought Jeremy Seal to Turkey is his personal madeleine, the key to memory and knowledge.

My Review: I like stuff about Turkey because I think it's one of the most interesting places on the surface of the earth. I've liked every Turk I've met, too, and dated one Turk for a year or so. I went into reading this book, on a friend's recommendation, with all sorts of goodwill and eagerness.

I came out with all the goodwill and none of the eagerness.

I like the book, don't get me wrong. I quite enjoyed the capsule Turkish history, I was amused by the cultural divide the author frequently fell into, and I was kept reading by the author's evident love for his subject.

I don't like Jeremy Seal. Not even a little bit. I think he comes across as a snotty little prig, a self-absorbed twit, and an obsessive-compulsive hat fetishist. If I met him in the flesh, I would not be inclined to linger, but rather to escape.

And that, sad to say, is my take-away from this very nice book. It overrode the pleasures of Turkophilia, which I too have, and left me with Sealophobia. I think that's a damn shame.

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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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message 1: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent Love the title. So which parent had the Turk as a lover?


Shovelmonkey1 As an similarly prententious brit, I did not notice the irksome elements of Jeremy Seals writing but i think my overfamiliarity with all the places he wrote about in Turkey led me to overlook some of the books downsides. I got fez blindness. Maybe it fell down over my eyes ;)


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Dan wrote: "Love the title. So which parent had the Turk as a lover?"

The question doesn't seem to have occurred to him! Bizarre, isn't it?


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Shovelmonkey1 wrote: "As an similarly prententious brit, I did not notice the irksome elements of Jeremy Seals writing but i think my overfamiliarity with all the places he wrote about in Turkey led me to overlook some ..."

You're an archaeologist! That right there is the only reason you'll ever need to be interested in Turkey! As to being pretentious, I beg to differ, you wear your erudition lightly.

I am, in the end, glad I read the book so thanks again!


message 5: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Gotta escape from those hat fetishists. You might just wake up with a babushka whose name you can't remember.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Someday, when you're older, I'll tell you about the time I took off a woman's bra and her breasts came with it.


Shovelmonkey1 A babushka? In Turkey? Or have you crossed the black sea with your fez?


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Shovelmonkey1 wrote: "A babushka? In Turkey? Or have you crossed the black sea with your fez?"

I think we've moved into general hat fetishism, Monkey dear.


message 9: by Hend (new) - added it

Hend Richard?
is it u?
i was gonna send u a friend request.....
:)
liked your review,especially "I've liked every Turk I've met"

actually i have Turkish blood,so i am happy....
:D


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Hend wrote: "Richard?
is it u?
i was gonna send u a friend request.....
:)
liked your review,especially "I've liked every Turk I've met"

actually i have Turkish blood,so i am happy....
:D"


Ha! Yes, it's me, I'm rotating avatars during Olympic season.

I've never met a Turk who wasn't very personable. But then again, I've only met the men....

:-P~~~~


message 11: by Hend (new) - added it

Hend :P


message 12: by Traveller (last edited Jun 13, 2012 10:31AM) (new)

Traveller Hend wrote: ":P"

Don't worry, Hend, he had me fooled as well, yesterday. :)

I was going to investigate this new person's profile, and then I saw "Godesses! Don't read that book", and I just new that sounded familiar.. :D


message 13: by Hend (new) - added it

Hend Traveller wrote: "Hend wrote: ":P"

Don't worry, Hend, he had me fooled as well, yesterday. :)

I was going to investigate this new person's profile, and then I saw "Godesses! Don't read that book", and I just new..."


yeah,i think at first he is someone whom i follow his review,and thought i should then send a friend request..:)

then i read"I'm tall,( i am not;) I'm old, I'm balding, I'm impatient with unkindness ,and my favorite color is green,,,"

i wish he doesn't change it...this is how i will always find him!!
:D


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim Traveller wrote: "Hend wrote: ":P"

Don't worry, Hend, he had me fooled as well, yesterday. :)

I was going to investigate this new person's profile, and then I saw "Godesses! Don't read that book", and I just new..."


You can change the avatar, but the writing style and substance reveal all..:)

He is lovable in any guise, no?


message 15: by Hend (new) - added it

Hend yeah!
he is...
:)


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways *group smooch*

Awww youse guyses *blush*


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim Hend wrote: "yeah!
he is...
:)"


Hend, you are very wise.:)

Richard wrote: "*group smooch*

Awww youse guyses *blush*"


Richard, so are you.

By the way, if you want a major dose of Turkophilia, I doubt you can do better than The Dervish House. I think I recommended to you before, but I am a persistent guy, and I was not aware of this tendency in you.

It will feed your philia, I can assure you.


message 18: by Hend (last edited Jun 13, 2012 01:05PM) (new) - added it

Hend Jim wrote: "Hend wrote: "yeah!
he is...
:)"

Hend, you are very wise.:)



Thanks Jim,,,
:)
:D



Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Jim wrote: "By the way, if you want a major dose of Turkophilia, ..."

It's sitting on my TBR stack, frowning in irritation at my dilatory reading habits. I only finish one book a day, and this one's been here a year. He's upset with me. I can feel it.


message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim Richard wrote: "It's sitting on my TBR stack, frowning in irritation at my dilatory reading habits. I only finish one book a day, and this one's been here a year. He's upset with me. I can feel it. "

Well, you finish them about 10-15 times as fast as I do, so no finger-pointing from here. I get tension headaches that greatly impair reading and writing activity, but have good reason to hope this will improve in future.

It will be worth the wait, I think, when you get there. And all will be forgiven, I am sure.


Shovelmonkey1 Hello all, I'd like to chip in to the Turkophilia and suggest Irfan Orga's The Caravan Moves on which is bloody brilliant. so is his other book Portrait of a Turkish Family . Go read em! Or if that's not to your taste try Constantinople by Edmondo De Amicis.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Or listen to The Four Lads sing about Constantinople.


message 24: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent Don't you mean They Might Be Giants singing about Constantinople?


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways I'm very fossil fuel. I'll go with the boys from 1953.


message 26: by Jim (new)

Jim Shovelmonkey1 wrote: "Hello all, I'd like to chip in to the Turkophilia and suggest Irfan Orga's The Caravan Moves on which is bloody brilliant. so is his other book Portrait of a Turkish Family . Go read em! Or if that's not to your taste try Constantinople by Edmondo De Amicis..."

I appreciate the suggestions, Shovelmonkey1 :)

The Caravan Moves and the De Amicis book are are a little hard to find in the States (used booksellers only on Amazon). But Portrait of a Turkish Family is on Kindle and I got the sample. It looks good!


Shovelmonkey1 Try classic travel literature publisher Eland for the caravan moves on.they did a reprint of it.


message 28: by Jim (new)

Jim Will do, and thanks again!


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