Rose Macaulay • The Towers of Trebizond

It used to be that I was afraid to state my opinion without having checked the critics I approved of to make sure my opinion was orthodox. In this, as in many other ways, I’m a coward. I still have this fear, but I’m trying not to let it dominate.

Now I learn as little as possible about a book or a movie before experiencing it to give me the mental space to arrive at my own conclusions, which is pleasant enough, though a solution by avoidance. This new process means I act on much less foreknowledge than before, which has perhaps expanded what I read. When I did a quick search about The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay, having heard her name from a friend on Twitter, I found a few glowing statements that made it sound like precisely the sort of book that I’d thoroughly enjoy, so when I saw it at a booksale, I picked it up. Macaulay herself seems like a delightful person, someone to learn more about.

So I’m disappointed to say that I can’t recommend this novel.

Going in I knew that an English novel from the 1950s called The Towers of Trebizond was going to have problematic orientalist content, but even beyond that, of which there is an awful lot, I just didn’t enjoy the experience of reading the book that much.

Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond. 1956 novel about an eccentric Englishwoman’s travels in Turkey and the Levant. Not recommended, but almost.

Read More