I remember quite clearly the day I met Toni Sepeda.
I was in Istanbul on a Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellowship studying historical documents in the Ottoman archives. I had just taken on the task of teaching a college-level course in Turkish Life and Culture for the University of Maryland, European Division, and I was meeting the other instructors in the program.
Toni had a terrible cold, but she looked great and was full of energy and enthusiasm.
It was a good clue to the Toni I would know for the next three decades: adversity is a bother! Ignore it! Get over it! There’s just too much wonderful and beautiful in the world to let a little setback spoil your day.
Life, for Toni, is a feast of possibilities and delights, and the little setbacks are just part of the overall beautiful picture.
This attitude served her well when she and her partner, Craig Manley, decided to build a vacation house on Turkey’s Black Sea coast east of Istanbul. Toni (pardon me: Dr Sepeda), knew Turkey and the Turks well, having lived and taught in the country for years, but nothing gets you into the fabric of a country, a culture and a society like undertaking a domestic construction project.
The story of a house? Not really. This is a story of living and loving Turkey, its culture and its people, by a writer (Ph.D. in literature) with a fluent, graceful, informed style, and a discerning eye to what makes life happen.
“Around an engrossing and sometimes hilarious account of the building of a holiday home—ten years in the making—on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, a rich social, cultural and historical hinterland is opened up. Evocative, informative and entertaining, the book brims with fascinating insights into Turkish life.” —Peter Kemp (London literary critic)
Click here to buy it online from Nettleberry(recommended)
Click here to buy it online from Amazon.com
Life with a View: A Turkish Quest, by Toni Sepeda, with illustrations by Craig Manley
Istanbul: Çitlembik, 2007. ISBN 994442420X Softcover, 312 pages, YTL14.50, US$18.95
An Island in Istanbul: At Home on Heybeliada