By Elif Shafak
An acclaimed Turkish novelist's own account of balancing a writer's existence with a mother's existence.
After the delivery of her first baby in 2006, Turkish author Elif Shafek suffered from postpartum melancholy that prompted a profound own challenge. Infused with guilt, nervousness, and bewilderment approximately no matter if she may well ever be a great mom, Shafak stopped writing and misplaced her religion in phrases altogether. during this elegantly written memoir, she retraces her trip from free-spirited, nomadic artist to devoted by way of emotionally wrought mom. making a choice on a regularly bickering harem of ladies who dwell inside her, each one together with her personal characteristics-the cynical highbrow, the goal-oriented go-getter, the practical-rational, the religious, the maternal, and the lustful-she craves concord, or a minimum of a unifying id. As she intersperses her personal event with the lives of in demand authors similar to Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Alice Walker, Ayn Rand, and Zelda Fitzgerald, Shafak appears to be like for an answer to the inherent clash among creative production and in charge parenting.
With searing emotional honesty and an incisive exam of cultural mores inside patriarchal societies, Shafak has rendered a huge paintings approximately literature, motherhood, and religious health and wellbeing.
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Extra resources for Black Milk: On Writing, Motherhood, and the Harem Within
Mahmood Abad, a town on the Caspian shore, was a two-day drive from Abadan. Every summer, the five of us would pile into our Chevrolet, my mom making sure to bring enough sandwiches, cucumbers, fruit, and Coca-Cola for the long drive. We were always glad to leave Abadan in the summer, since its desert climate was unbearable. As we headed north, toward Tehran, the weather cooled off slowly, proof that we were indeed farther and farther from our home. We always reached Tehran in the evening and spent the night at relatives’ houses.
I always disappointed them by admitting that I had never seen a camel in my entire life. And as far as a ride goes, our Chevrolet was rather smooth. They reacted as if I had told them that there really was a person in the Mickey Mouse costume. We were also asked about electricity, tents, and the Sahara. Once again, we disappointed, admitting that we had electricity, that we did not own a tent, and that the Sahara was on another continent. Intent to remedy the image of our homeland as backward, my father took it upon himself to enlighten Americans whenever possible.
Once we reached Las Vegas, we always went to the Stardust. There, my father would go to the front desk and ask for his special friend, a man who had asked to be called Al. Despite the “No Vacancy” sign, the mighty Al would get us a room. This clandestine operation, however, required a handshake with a five-dollar bill enclosed. My father loved his Frank Sinatra moment and always told stories about the exchanges between him and Al, stretching a five-minute encounter into a two-hour story. I hated Al and always hoped he’d end up in jail, but he, like the decks of cards adorned with pictures of naked women, was a fixture at the Stardust.