When I was approached about this book, I thought it looked like one I would definitely want to read, unfortunately as you all know my TBR is at breaking point and I had to decline a review copy. I wanted to share this book with you all though so today I have an excerpt for you and it is mesmerising.
CINEMATIC ROMANTIC COMEDY INTRODUCES MODERN TWIST ON SHAKESPEARE’S ROMEO & JULIET
Set in the historic city of Istanbul, Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights by Leonard Durso chronicles the journey of ten dynamic characters from across the globe—each trying to navigate their way through life and love, whilst remaining hindered by their own unique cultural differences.
Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights begins with the funeral for the husband of Katja, a choreographer at a local university in Istanbul. Following the tragic loss of her soulmate, she slowly becomes intertwined with each of her colleagues within the university’s performing arts department. She meets the theatre department chair, Michael, who envisions a year-end production involving all the departments in an updated bilingual musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. As they all work together to put on a stellar performance, several of the university’s staff, including Katja herself, find themselves on a path of newfound love. As one would expect, some couples find true happiness together—cultivating relationships that will enrich their lives forever—while others miss the opportunity for romantic involvement, crumbling under the pressures of establishing common ground when dating in a foreign country.
Back inside, things are really heating up between Jennifer and Deniz who seem to both be aware that they are competing and find they are both aggressive, competitive animals. The dancing, then, takes on a fairly suggestive, erotic tone and other faculty members are drawn in: female members becoming bolder, male members becoming aroused. A controlled wildness seems to spread across the floor, the air charged with sexual energy, and husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, and unattached members of both genders begin competing with each other for the floor. And İrem sees the physical manifestation of Michael’s theme for the play being acted out in front of her eyes and turns looking for him to see if he sees it, too. But he is, of course, nowhere to be found in the room and once she realizes this, confusion, then mild panic, takes over her.
Dave, meanwhile, draws Katja out onto the dance floor and she loses herself in the dance, forgetting about everything but the music, the gypsy flavored beat, her body taking on a life of its own, and Dave almost stands still watching. He thinks he would like to have this woman, though he knows it is almost an impossible wish, but cannot refrain from wishing it anyway.
And in the hundred or so people at the party, more than half are out dancing but Murat and Brenda only see each other. And Philip, surrounded by a few of the Prep Teachers, is pogoing away. Only İrem seems somewhat lost all of a sudden and walks the room looking for Michael. Then she spies the patio door and on a hunch, goes out to find him sitting on a chair gazing out to the Bosporus below. “There you are,” she says.
“Ah,” he goes. “I’ve been found out.”
“Were you hiding?” she asks, trying for a playful tone to hide what she senses is real concern.
“Not really,” he says. “I just needed some fresh air and to give these tired old feet a rest. And then, sitting here, I sort of got lost while watching the water roll by.” He smiles at her, though thankfully, because of the dark, she does not see how melancholy that smile really is. “It’s a fitting way to end the year, you know.”
“Aren’t you cold?” she asks.
“I hadn’t noticed,” he says, “until you brought it up, but yes, it is a bit cold out here.”
“Then why don’t you come back inside?”
“Hmmmm,” and he stands, though a bit reluctantly. “Might as well,” he says. “After all, I’m all out of whiskey here.”
“Well you can’t let that happen, can you?”
“Not on New Year’s Eve.”
And as they both head back in, they almost hold hands, or at least the impulse is there in each of them, but not knowing how the other would feel about it, they resist and just walk back side by side without touching until they come to the patio door where they bump into each other, and both over apologize. And as they enter, a feeling lingers in the air between them of a missed opportunity. And neither knows just how to handle, or even explain, that.
Meanwhile the rivalry between Jennifer and Deniz is taking on a new twist as the two women become more and more fascinated with each other and begin dancing around Meric rather than dancing with him and find themselves dancing together and being fascinated with their own aura and sexuality. Meric tries for some control but is virtually ignored on the dance floor as the women focus on themselves.
About Leonard Durso
Leonard Durso is a native New Yorker, who grew up on Long Island in the small town of Lynbrook. Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights is his sixth published novel, with his previous works spanning thriller, drama, and contemporary fiction genres. Prior to taking on writing full-time, Durso was the Director of The English Language Institute at Nassau Community College, where he was influential in teaching the English language to immigrants living on Long Island, New York. He later went on to become the Director of the ESL Program at Dowling College. In 2008, after years of wanting to teach English overseas, he took on the position of Director of the English Language Program at Plato College of Higher Education in Istanbul. In 2016, he also spent time as a journalist writing for a national Turkish newspaper. Durso received his B.S. and M.F.A from Bowling Green State University as well as an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University. He currently resides in Izmir, Turkey.
Book & Buy Links
Title: Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights
Author: Leonard Durso
Genre: Romance | Contemporary
Publication Date: 28 August 2017
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Paperback
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | SpeedyHen | Wordery