Tales from the Expat Harem, edited by Anastasia M. Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gokman is an anthology of stories that describes the lives of different expatriate women who have lived in Turkey.
The collection presents an inspiring and highly informative view of what it is really like to live in Turkey as a woman. From the ways in which they abandoned their previous preconceptions of the Turkish people and their culture, to learning a language, accepting strange traditions and dating and marriage, the book very vividly depicts the lives of women who are plummeted into a new lifestyle in a world that is completely foreign to them.
The stories are extremely varied and cover many different elements associated with like in Turkey. One lady tells of how members of her local community descended on her and nursed her back to health after she fell ill, another describes the struggle she encountered as she attempted to learn the language and test her skills on a three-week road trip with her mother in tow, and another still discusses the mysterious ritual of the hamam, the Turkish bath, and describes how, for generations, women have gathered to share their experiences in the company of trusted friends.
If you’re considering a move abroad and would like to gain insights into what it is like to live in a country that has a culture and traditions that are so different than your own, or if you are seeking views on what it is like to marry into a foreign culture, this book would be a perfect read. It is engaging and well thought out and, because the stories are written by people who have experienced the ups and downs of life in Turkey first hand, it presents a level of realism that can’t be found in travel guides alone.
If you want to get a genuine view of what expat life is truly about, read “Tales from the Expat Harem.”