Üstün Bilgen-Reinart was born in Ankara, Turkey, came to Canada as a teenager, and recently returned to her native land. As a television journalist at the CBC, she covered aboriginal and social issues. Her first book, Night Spirits, was published in 1997. Currently she teaches at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara.
Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates
For millennia, the land now called Turkey has been at the crossroads of history. A bridge between Europe and Asia, between West and East, between Christianity and Islam, the peninsula also known as Anatolia, the place where the sun rises, is one of the oldest continually inhabited regions on the planet.
In this unique blend of memoir and travel literature, Üstün Bilgen-Reinart explores the people, politics, and passions of her native country, whisking the reader on a journey through time, memory, and space. She searches deep into the roots of her own ancestry and uncovers a family secret, breaks taboos in a nation that still takes tradition very seriously, and navigates through dangerous territory that sees her investigating brothels in Ankara, probing honour murders in Sanliurfa, encountering Kurds in the remote southeast, and witnessing the rape of the earth by a gold mining company in Bergama.
Bilgen-Reinart's observations are rich in sensory detail: inhaling warm winds that smell of thyme, the sweet, greasy feel of rose oil from the hamam, eating juicy apricots as big as eggs, swimming in creamy seas; the memories of her past are sweet, as they are those of a child.
... beautifully written and filled with captivating stories.
A compelling narrative.