Black Milk by Elif Shafak
On Writing, Motherhood, and the Harem Within

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A thoughtful and incisive meditation on literature, motherhood, and spiritual wellbeing from Turkey's leading female author

After the birth of her first child, Elif Shafak experienced a profound personal crisis. Plagued by guilt, anxiety, and bewilderment about her new maternal role, the acclaimed novelist stopped writing for the first time in her life. As she plummeted into post-partum depression, Shafak looked to the experiences of other prominent female writers—including Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, and Alice Walker—for help navigating the conflict between motherhood and artistic creation in a male-dominated society. Searingly honest, eloquent, and unexpectedly humorous, Black Milk will be widely embraced by writers, academics, and anyone who has undergone the identity crisis engendered by being a mother.


About Elif Shafak

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ELIF SHAFAK'S books include the novels The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love and the memoir Black Milk, and her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She has appeared on NPR, and the BBC, and at the TED conference. She lives in London and Istanbul.
Published April 28, 2011 by Penguin Books. 289 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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While the author's standpoint is that of a modern Turkish woman, she muses about the lives and work of female writers from diverse backgrounds—George Elliot, Louisa May Alcott, Sylvia Plath, Zelda Fitzgerald, Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan—who faced conflicts similar to her own.

May 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Black Milk: On Writing, Mothe...

Publishers Weekly

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Feeling conflicted about embarking on motherhood, Turkish novelist Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love) chronicles the cruel, crazy trajectory that took her from feminist single novelist to married nursing mother of two.

Mar 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Black Milk: On Writing, Mothe...

Kirkus Reviews

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There's her practical side, her spiritual side, her workaholic side, her cynical and over-analytical side, and finally, introduced later in the book, her maternal side and her physical, sexual side.

Jul 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Black Milk: On Writing, Mothe...

Bookmarks Magazine

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 h...

May 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Black Milk: On Writing, Mothe...

September 23rd, 2011 reset - + “IN TURKISH,” WRITES ELIF SHAFAK, “one says ‘I am at depression’ instead of ‘I am depressed’ … as if depression were less a state of mind than a specific area, a dark corridor with only a weak lightbulb to illuminate the place.” Shafak, whose c...

Sep 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Black Milk: On Writing, Mothe...

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