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.
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This is a wonderful book by a wonderful writer. Droll, surprising and moving, it describes a knowingly wandering journey along the River Meander from source to sea, and down through Turkish history from antiquity to the contemporary -
It’s an elegant and fitting tribute to the most famous river you’ve never heard of - Wanderlust
The eccentric response of the locals and the river’s idyllic scenery – lily pads, water snakes, storks and pelicans – combine with Seal’s faultless historical tour-guiding to create a charming, enviable journey… Seal’s book delivers on its promise of an unpredictable journey through an unfamiliar place. It’s an impressive piece of old fashioned travelling - Sunday Times
Seal loves Turkey with puppylike enthusiasm… Meander is funny…an excellent introduction to Turkish history for anyone planning a summer holiday - Guardian
Writer and river are happily matched… History is his travelling companion - Spectator
Sweeps between travelogue, societal investigation, historical interpretation and modern analysis... Seal’s humourous style ties it all together with aplomb - Irish Examiner
Charming and eloquent - Geographical
Proved that a classic travel author’s game-plan...can still deliver an artful and illuminating book - Independent
By this author
About the Author
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.