Bastard of Istanbul

The Silver Rule of Prudence for an Istanbulite Woman: When harassed on the street, do not lose nerve, since a woman who loses her nerve in the face of harassment, and thus reacts excessively, will only make matters worse for herself!

The cab driver laughed, the horn of the Toyota behind blared yet again, the rain hastened on, and several pedestrians tsk-tsked in unison, though it was hard to tell what exactly they were reprimanding. Amid all the tumult, Zeliha caught sight of and iridescent bumper sticker glittering on the back of the cab: DON’T CALL ME WRETCHED! it declared. THE WRETCHED TOO HAVE A HEART. As she stood there blankly staring at these words, suddenly she felt tired beyond herself_so tired and taken aback that one would suppose it wasn’t the everyday problem of an Istanbulite that she was dealing with. Rather it was some sort of cryptic code that a faraway mind had specifically designed for her to decipher and that she in her morality had never managed to crack. Soon, the cab and the Toyota left and the pedestrians went their separate ways, leaving Zeliha there, holding the broken heel of her shoe as tenderly and despondently as if she were carrying a dead bird.

Bastard of Istanbul written by Elif Shafak