Elif Shafak

Books Jonny Geller, +44 (0)20 7393 4357 Email Jonny Geller

The Gaze

Turkish Writers Best Novel Award
book | Fiction | 2000
World → Dogan Kitapcilik
UK → Viking

Turkish Title: Mahrem

Won ​Turkish Writers Best Novel Award

‘I didn’t say anything. I didn’t return his smiles. I looked at him in the wide mirror in front of where I was sitting. He grew uncomfortable and avoided my eyes. I hate those who think fat people are stupid.’

An obese woman and her lover, a dwarf, are sick of being stared at wherever they go, and so decide to reverse roles. The man goes out wearing make up and the woman draws a moustache on her face. But while the woman wants to hide away from the world, the man meets the stares from passers-by head on, compiling his ‘Dictionary of Gazes’ to explore the boundaries between appearance and reality.

Intertwined with the story of a bizarre freak-show organized in Istanbul in the 1880s, The Gaze considers the damage which can be inflicted by our simple desire to look at others.


Audio Rights


The audio rights are handled by Alice Lutyens.

Daisy Meyrick manages the translation rights for The Gaze


Translation Rights Sold

Egmont Bulgaria Publishing House
Chinese Simple
Mainland China
CITIC Publishing Group
Nieuw Amsterdam
Palitra Media
Rizzoli Editore
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Shafak probes the many ironies of appearance and perception with entertaining and affecting results. Publishers Weekly
Full Review

Shafak is more than a worthy heir to Isabel Allende’s brand of magical realism. A quiet intelligence underpins the novel’s flamboyant surrealism. The Independent

Beautifully evoked. The Times
Full Review

A richly layered narrative concerning misfits and how society views them… a strange, hallucinatory work. Kirkus Reviews

Orignal and compelling. TLS
Full Review

Elif Shafak's The Gaze, about a romance between a huge woman and a dwarf, plays with ideas of beauty and ugliness like they're Rubik's cubes. Helen Oyeyemi, author of The Icarus Girl

Sometimes, the pitiless gazes of others can flay like knives. Shafak enters the isolation of those unfortunate enough to be different.

The Times

Jonny Geller
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Translation Rights
Sophie Baker
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Translation Rights
Roxane Edouard
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