The problems of being a mother and a writer are more political and intimate than this memoir allowsFor a book that describes itself as an “intimate memoir” of a “post-partum depression”, Black Milk gives remarkably little space to the actual illness – just a few pages, in one of the final chapters. The rest of the volume is devoted to tracing the origins of bestselling novelist Elif Shafak’s breakdown, which in turn involves answering a question put to her by a senior Turkish writer, Adalet Agaoglu: “Do you think a woman could manage motherhood and a career at the same time and equally well?”Shafak seeks the answer through a series of biographical essays on women writers; and a matching set of conversations with Shafak’s “inner harem” of “Thumbelinas”, who are tiny, argumentative representatives of her “Big Self”: Miss Highbrowed Cynic, who wants to read, Dame Dervish, who represents Shafak’s Sufism, and, causing all the trouble, Mama Rice Pudding, who wants to have babies.This is more fun, and also more psychologically acute, than perhaps it sounds. The Thumbelinas are feisty and fighty, not above military coups and chaining each other to radiators; and when Shafak sets the scene well, as she …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books