Her last novel published in Turkey and in Turkish, Ask (pronounced "Ashk", meaning "Love") is the example of such an adventurous and passionate journey. Shafak has written the novel in English and had it translated into Turkish by Kadir Yiğit Uz. Then she reworked on the Turkish version, so in a sense, Ask "has been written again". In her column, Shafak also fairly explains that it isn't an easy task for a writer to express him or herself in a different language and that it would simply be madness if one wouldn't simply love working like that. She offers a wide range of examples of writers who have been writing in different languages and in languages which aren't their first, like Nabokov, Beckett, or Conrad (whose English Virginia Woolf heavily criticized). Well yes, they are all among the best writers of the 20th century so no doubt that were successful.
I am fascinated by languages and I myself speak five. I do certainly not master them all the same way but all of them open different doors of the world to me, make me experience different cultures, teach me different visions and ways of life, and offer me such a wide range of possibilities to express myself. So I think I do know what Elif Shafak is sharing with her readers and I do applaud her for the way she shakes herself, her readers and literature to its very core.
Elif Shafak's column in the Newspaper Zaman appears twice a week.