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And other inside stories from a vanishing Turkey
From Istanbul’s palatial old embassies to its glorious Bosphorus summerhouses, from Ottoman Paris to Ankara’s Art Deco, from rainforest mansions to a mad mosque in the mountains… a diplomat’s wife reveals surprising secret histories. This book brings together essays by Patricia Daunt written for Cornucopia Magazine over the past twenty-five years. It concludes with her latest article, on the magnificent ruins of Aphrodisias, newly listed as a World Heritage Site, but long one of her greatest loves.
This volume is a rare treasure… flair and know-how dazzlingly combined with knowledge and wit. From it you will learn of a semi-secret Turkey. Patricia Daunt is not only a passionate Turcophile and a most impressive scholar; she is also a former ambassadress, who over many years has been able to penetrate far more deeply than most of us into the life and customs of what we must, alas, describe as a vanishing Turkey.
FROM THE FOREWORD BY JOHN JULIUS NORWICH
The author has asked for proceeds from the book to be given to the Friends of Aphrodisias Trust.
RED-BROWN TO THE HORIZON (The TLS)
Patricia Daunt has spent most of a lifetime exploring Turkey – as walker, rider, knower of plants, and ambassador’s wife. This is a record of her expertiese and enthusiams, whose coffee-table dimnsions belie its scholarly contents…
Nine essays penetrate the secret woels of yalıs, the wooden summerhouses on the Bosphorus… Patricia Daunt trains the same discerning eye on those fragile structures as on their ghosts…
After 100 pages of crystal bonboinnieres and walls of empire blue, it is a bracing delight to be plunged into the jackal-haunted woods of the northeast and the waters of Lake Köceğiz, the roe of whose fish is still sealed with a layer of beeswax, as in antiquity…
The writing draws from the kind of total attention achieved when informed observation dovetails with sheer love of place.– Yasmine Seale, The Times Literary Supplement, March 9, 2018
Of the 25 essays, writes Pasti, ‘Some are scholarly, rather as if they were non-fiction essays, whereas others are seductively rich in imagination (and all are accompanied by beautiful photographs). She combines these elements with the precision that marks true passion and knowledge.Turkey inhabits Patricia Daunt…
There is no room for melancholy because the stories are so tightly knit. Chekovian snacks, characters who seem to have come straight out of Nabakov’s Ada, old reformist sultans who were more than a little fond of women, travellers curious about everything, music-loving princesses…turn Turkey into some sort of thought pattern… After reading the book, we too have turned into Turkophiles, we too are inhabited by Turkey. And maybe, who knows, we have become a little more friendly along the way.– Umberto Pasti, The World of Interiors, April 2018
A LOVE LETTER TO TURKEY’S LOST PAST The Palace Lady’s Summerhouse is much more than a beautifully illustrated book: it’s about the people who lived — and live — in these buildings, and a portrait of the vanishing worlds they represent. We meet the gentlemanly descendants of a dynasty of grand viziers who quizzically watch the maritime traffic of the modern world passing by their ancestral waterside palace… and gentlemen tea-farmers who spend winter evenings sitting in the vast inglenooks of ancient farmhouses. It’s a whimsical and finely drawn account, a love letter to a country and to a world that has been almost completely swallowed up by tourism, new money and development.– Owen Matthews, The Spectator, December 2, 2017
TRAVEL For more than quarter of a century [Patricia Daunt] has contributed articles to Cornucopia, the magazine, that is, in so many ways Turkey’s equivalent to Country Life and has done so much to record the monuments of that country and encourage constructive preservation. Some 20 articles are brought together in this stylish production, the texts beautifully complemented by the excellent photogrpahs for which the magazine is known.
As the wife of a former ambassador to Turkey, Lady Daunt knows the former embassies of in Istanbul. Her accounts of these are both elegant and informed by a strong historical sense. They will surely survive.
Fate has been less uniformally kind to private houses on the Bosphorus, the subject of ten articles that convey the magic of these while leaving one in no doubt of the vicissitudes they have suffered, whether from road building or political reverses…– Francis Russell, Country Life, December 13, 2017
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