The course of the Meander is so famously indirect that the river's name has come to signify digression - an invitation Jeremy Seal is duty-bound to accept while travelling the length of it in a one-man canoe. At every twist and turn of his journey, from the Meander's source in the uplands of Central Turkey to its mouth on the Aegean Sea, Seal illuminates his account with a wealth of cultural, historical and personal asides. It is a journey that takes him from Turkey's steppe interior - the stamping ground of such illustrious adventurers as Xerxes, Alexander the Great and the Crusader Kings - to the great port city of Miletus, home of the earliest Western philosophers. Along the way Seal unpicks the history of this remarkable region, but he also encounters a rich assortment of contemporary characters who reveal a rural Turkey on the cusp of change. Above all, this is the story of a river that first brought the cultures of East and West into contact - and conflict - with one another, its banks littered with the spoil of empires, the marks of war, and the detritus of recent industrialisation.
At once epic, intimate and insightful, "Meander" is a brilliant evocation of a land between two worlds.
A wonderful, winding exploration of the fabled Turkish river, the pivotal meeting point between East and West, from the author of the acclaimed A Fez of the Heart.
"This is a wonderful book by a wonderful writer" -- Robert Macfarlane "Meander is both the tale of a quixotic journey down a river and a wonderfully affectionate, funny, intimate and knowledgeable portrait of Turkey" -- Barnaby Rogerson Times Literary Supplement "There are few better travel writers than Jeremy Seal writing today, and none better on Turkey" -- Geographical Magazine "Success and enjoyment in this book spring from the fact that Seal is equally at home in the past as the present... his great ability here is to convey something of the lives, the concerns and the nature of the people of the region" -- Anthony Sattin Spectator "Meander takes us to a forgotten river and a land whose history and culture, significant as they are for bridging East and West, old and new, are all but neglected. It's wonderful stuff... a book that celebrates the dilemma in which Turkey finds itself, which records with sensitivity a story which is both epic and intensely personal... this is a fine observation of a landscape and its people and of a country whose efforts to define itself have been as circuitous as the river itself'" -- Jon Berry www.caughtbytheriver.net
Jeremy Seal is a travel writer, teacher and broadcaster with a life-long fascination for Turkey. His first book, A Fez of the Heart, was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. He is also the author of The Snakebite Survivors' Club, The Wreck at Sharpnose Point, and Santa: A Life, which was Radio 4's Book of the Week. He has written for the Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times, Conde Nast Traveller, the Weekend Australian and the New York Times, among others. He lives in Bath.