1530 Followers
249 Following
richardderus

Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

A Fez of The Heart: Travels around Turkey in Search of a Hat - Jeremy Seal Rating: 3.25* of fiveThe 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.