Black Milk: On the Conflicting Demands of Writing, Creativity, and Motherhood

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Penguin, Apr 28, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
3 Reviews
An acclaimed Turkish novelist's personal account of balancing a writer's life with a mother's life.

After the birth of her first child in 2006, Turkish writer Elif Shafek suffered from postpartum depression that triggered a profound personal crisis. Infused with guilt, anxiety, and bewilderment about whether she could ever be a good mother, Shafak stopped writing and lost her faith in words altogether. In this elegantly written memoir, she retraces her journey from free-spirited, nomadic artist to dedicated by emotionally wrought mother. Identifying a constantly bickering harem of women who live inside of her, each with her own characteristics-the cynical intellectual, the goal-oriented go-getter, the practical-rational, the spiritual, the maternal, and the lustful-she craves harmony, or at least a unifying identity. As she intersperses her own experience with the lives of prominent authors such as Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Alice Walker, Ayn Rand, and Zelda Fitzgerald, Shafak looks for a solution to the inherent conflict between artistic creation and responsible parenting.

With searing emotional honesty and an incisive examination of cultural mores within patriarchal societies, Shafak has rendered an important work about literature, motherhood, and spiritual well-being.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - yeldabmoers - LibraryThing

For those readers who don’t know the Turkish writer Elif Shafak, let me preface this review by saying that she is a brave woman and thinker, first and foremost, and a compelling novelist, the most ... Read full review

BLACK MILK: On Writing, Motherhood, and the Harem Within

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Acclaimed Turkish novelist Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi, 2010, etc.) examines the conflict she feels between her many identities.Until the age of 35, writes the author, she defined ... Read full review


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About the author (2011)

Elif Shafak is the author of several novels and has taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Arizona. Married with two children, Shafak divides her time between London and Istanbul.

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