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The Gaze Kindle Edition
A beautiful and compelling novel, Elif Shafak's The Gaze considers the damage which can be inflicted by our simple desire to look at others
"I didn't say anything. I didn't return his smiles. I looked at him in the wide mirror in front of where I was sitting. He grew uncomfortable and avoided my eyes. I hate those who think fat people are stupid.'
An obese woman and her lover, a dwarf, are sick of being stared at wherever they go, and so decide to reverse roles. The man goes out wearing make up and the woman draws a moustache on her face. But while the woman wants to hide away from the world, the man meets the stares from passers-by head on, compiling his 'Dictionary of Gazes' to explore the boundaries between appearance and reality.
Intertwined with the story of a bizarre freak-show organised in Istanbul in the 1880s, The Gaze considers the damage which can be inflicted by our simple desire to look at others.
"Beautifully evoked" - The Times
"Original and Compelling" - TLS
"Plays with ideas of beauty and ugliness like they're Rubik's cubes" - Helen Oyeyemi
"Entertaining and affecting" - Publishers' Weekly
Elif Shafak is the acclaimed author of The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love and is the most widely read female novelist in Turkey. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She is a contributor for The Telegraph, Guardian and the New York Times and her TED talk on the politics of fiction has received 500 000 viewers since July 2010. She is married with two children and divides her time between Istanbul and London.
About the Author
Elif Shafak, born 1971 in Strasbourg, spent her teenage years in Spain before returning to Turkey. She is an outstanding name amongst young Turkish authors, and has written four novels and won the Mevlana Prize for the best work in mystical and transcendental literature. She holds a masters degree in Women's Studies and is currently an Assistant professor at Tuscan University, Arizona. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Original and compelling (TLS)
Plays with ideas of beauty and ugliness like they're Rubik's cubes (Helen Oyeyemi)
Entertaining and affecting (Publishers’ Weekly)
Elif Shafak is the best author to come out of Turkey in the last decade (Orhan Pamuk)
Beautifully evoked (The Times The Times)
Original and compelling (TLS TLS)
Plays with ideas of beauty and ugliness like they're Rubik's cubes (Helen Oyeyemi Helen Oyeyemi)
Entertaining and affecting (Publishers’ Weekly Publishers’ Weekly)
Elif Shafak is the best author to come out of Turkey in the last decade (Orhan Pamuk Orhan Pamuk) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B009NXUUYQ
- Publisher : Penguin; Reissue edition (1 November 2012)
- Language : English
- File size : 2230 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 272 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #202,822 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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I have started an Elif Shafak Reading Project this year – to read one Shafak every month starting with The Gaze, which I reread in January. The Gaze still is my favourite book written by her. It unpacks so much. It is layered with so much – our preconceived notions about people, about the way they look, and how we look in that regard; of how the world views us, and how our desire to look at others takes life spinning in different orbits.
The Gaze is perhaps not Shafak’s popular book, but I absolutely adore it. A story that spans across time and characters that are embroiled in the concept of how they look and what it means to them. An obese woman and her lover, a dwarf, decide to reclaim the streets. They decide to step out in the world that ridicules them. So, they reverse roles. The man wears make-up and dresses like a woman. The woman sports a moustache on her face. This is their story.
There is then the story of Memis that takes place centuries ago – who decides to create a circus of people, and not animals – weird looking people to get others intrigued and curious to come and see them. At the same time, we see Memis’s loneliness and why he does what he does.
In all of this, there is also the Dictionary of The Gazes that the dwarf is working on. It is based on incidents, and movies, and what does the gaze mean at the end of the day.
Shafak’s prose shines on every page. The writing is terrific and for me it was hard to believe (as always) that this was one of her earlier works. The translation by Brendan Freely is on point. At no point do you feel that you are reading a translated work. The book is suggestive. The book is all sorts of unique and perhaps even difficult to get into. The book isn’t linear in its narrative and I love that about it. Read The Gaze to get a sense of Shafak’s writing and the worlds she conjures, as an extension of the world we inhabit.
By Simmmmmisharma on 29 July 2020