Perking the Pansies
Jack and Liam move to Turkey
by Jack Scott
This is Jack’s début book and, as the title suggests, it’s an autobiographical account of Jack and his civil partner Liam’s move to Turkey. Bored with a life of suburban humdrum, stressful jobs, and a comfortably secure but passionately dissatisfying life, they decide on a new start in Turkey. And so their journey begins.
As expat stories go, this might seem straightforward enough – until you remember that Jack and Liam are openly gay and that Turkish society is overwhelmingly Muslim and can be very conservative and conventional.
A disaster waiting to happen? Well, I’m not going to spoil the story for you. But it certainly does add a certain frisson to the narrative. The book is quite a page-turner.
Jack is an expert people-watcher, and much of what makes this book enjoyable is his wry, witty and sometimes downright scathing observations of others. We all know the type of expats who huddle together in groups, with no interests other than reinforcing their superiority over the locals, slagging off their new country, bemoaning what’s become of their old one, and attending regular expat meetings. I’ve heard the type referred to before as [insert name of local British group here]-types. Jack refers to them as “emigreys”. Brilliant!
From grasping expats wanting to profit from other expats, to strange neighbours, to the self-superior and Blighty-hating emigreys, no one escapes Jack’s analysis and description.
Of course there are some very fine people too – among the locals, the expats, and the family and friends Jack and Liam left behind in the UK. And it’s not all laughs. In one or two places the mood turns very dark indeed. In others, there’s a sprinkling of pathos – some of it sad, some of it heartwarming. This adds balance and depth to what might otherwise be just a catalogue of accurately observed, witty and acerbic pen pictures.
It’s a good account of the light and shade of an off-the-wall expat lifestyle, told in a fast-paced and highly amusing way.
If you’d like to read it – and I recommend you do – it’s available from Amazon and other good bookshops. Amazon also sell a Kindle version.
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Perking the Pansies
Paperback, 244 pages
2011, Summertime Publishing
(Or one lucky winner can receive a free copy by commenting below.)