A Turkish Woman's European Impressions by Zeyneb Hanoum
Zeyneb Hanoum (who died c.1923) and her sister Melek fled Turkey in 1906, at a time when women's freedom was severely restricted. This book, first published in 1913, is a collection of letters written by Zeyneb to her friend, feminist journalist Grace Ellison. As well as discussing the political situation in Turkey, Hanoum compares the life of Turkish women with their European counterparts and presents a more balanced view of real harem life. Witty and forthright, the author shares her opinions on strange Western phenomena such as tennis, snobbery and the poor quality of English food. She also offers views on the suffragette movement and muses on the freedoms enjoyed by women in the West. The author's outsider status provides fascinating insights into European culture and such diverse experiences as tea at the House of Commons and bullfighting. This remains an entertaining and touching travelogue from a unique viewpoint.