The Rug Bazaar by Marylee MacDonald

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In The Rug Bazaar, Marylee MacDonald gives us two short stories set in contemporary Turkey. Ms. MacDonald nails the setting from the Boshorus seaside to the rug bazaars. Cultural differences, sexual differences, and financial and power differences punctuate these stories.

Two single American women are vacationing separately in Turkey. Both are lonely, seeking refuge from the dullness of their lives in the States. Angela’s brother is in prison and she hasn’t seen him for years.  Bonnie is overweight and self-conscious about it.

Author Marylee MacDonald

Author Marylee MacDonald

Both women have sexual liaisons with younger Turkish men. Angela sleeps with Hamdi, a married man with two children, whose brother, Kemal, is in prison. He seeks money to help get his brother out of prison. Bonnie, at the request of Harun performs fellatio, but gets nothing from him in return until a much-later tryst in a hotel. Both men are startlingly poor. Both women are obviously wealthy enough to travel for an extended time abroad.

Both women seek something neither man can give her, and both think less of the men for that inability. Angela at least makes an effort to reconcile with her brother after her encounter with Hamdi, but Bonnie is left stranded at a cheap hotel.