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The Turkish Lover
Synopses & Reviews
Along with Sandra Cisneros and Julia Alvarez, Esmeralda Santiago has emerged as one of today's preeminent Latina authors. Legions of fans have waited five long years for the next chapter of the story begun in her memoirs When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman. And now the wait is over.
In The Turkish Lover, Esmeralda finally breaks out of a monumental struggle with her powerful mother — only to come under the thrall of "the Turk" and discover that romantic passion, too, can become a prison. Esmeralda's journey of self-liberation and self-discovery is a daring one, candidly and zestfully recounted, and leads, most improbably, to her triumphant graduation from Harvard. (Her view of that venerable institution is an eye opener, told as only a brilliant writer totally outside the mold can tell it.)
The expansive humanity, earthy humor, and psychological courage that made Esmeralda's first two books so successful are on full display again in The Turkish Lover, which will both reward the author's faithful readership and extend it. Hers is a fresh, exciting, and necessary voice.
"'I will teach you everything,' says Santiago's lover, the Turkish filmmaker Ulvi Dogan. 'But you must listen to what I say.' Thus begins the deftly understated saga of an intense, abusive relationship in Santiago's third memoir. When I Was Puerto Rican (1993) and Almost a Woman (1998) examined Santiago's Puerto Rican childhood, her adolescence in New York and her emerging acting career, when Dogan spots her in a phone booth and offers her an audition. Santiago revisits their seven-year relationship with uncommon candor and directness. Dogan controls Santiago's every moment, yet Santiago believes he 'was gentle and understanding' of why she couldn't always obey him. In their nomadic lives (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; New York; Syracuse, N.Y.; Lubbock, Tex.), they make up and break up as Santiago devotes herself to Dogan's graduate studies and career. But when a traffic jam unexpectedly delivers them to Harvard Square, Santiago blurts out, 'I belong here.' So it happens that at 25, she enters Harvard. It's the beginning of the end with a man who 'might love me, as he claimed, but he had no idea, no clue whatsoever, of what was important to me.' Although there's nothing here to delight readers seeking a vicarious dip into another culture (which When I Was Puerto Rican provided), Santiago's latest will grow on readers. Her slow self-realization is deeply human. Agent, Molly Friedrich. (Sept. 1) Forecast: Santiago is an enormously popular author with a proven track record, and reading groups are sure to gravitate to this. She'll go on an eight-city author tour, stopping at the Miami Book Fair; and will be profiled in Latina and on NPR." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the author of When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman comes a long-awaited new memoir: the emotionally and psychologically charged story of an exotic and dangerous love affair.
The long-awaited new memoir by the author of When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman. A Merloyd Lawrence Book.
About the Author
Esmeralda Santiago lives in Westchester County, New York. Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to Brooklyn with her ten siblings and unmarried mother, who supported them all. Her amazing life is chronicled in her memoirs, one volume of which-Almost a Woman — was made into a film for PBS's Masterpiece Theater.
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