The Gaze | Elif Shafak
A beautiful and compelling novel, Elif Shafak’s The Gaze considers the damage which can be inflicted by our simple desire to look at others
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“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 organised in Istanbul in the 1880s, The Gaze considers the damage which can be inflicted by our simple desire to look at others.