Seal, Jeremy 1962-

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

SEAL, Jeremy 1962-

PERSONAL: Born 1962; married; children: one daughter.

ADDRESSES: Home—Bath, England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Harcourt, 15 East 26th St., New York, NY 10003-4793.

CAREER: Writer and teacher.

WRITINGS:

A Fez of the Heart: Travels around Turkey in Search of a Hat, Picador (London, England), 1995, Harcourt Brace (San Diego, CA), 1996.

The Snakebite Survivors' Club: Travels among Serpents, Harcourt Brace (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Treachery at Sharpnose Point: Unraveling the Mystery of the Caledonia's Final Voyage, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.

SIDELIGHTS: Jeremy Seal is a British writer who taught English in Turkey for several years. Seal's book A Fez of the Heart: Travels around Turkey in Search of a Hat documents his visits to Turkish towns to learn more about the headgear that was banned by Mustafa Kermal Ataturk in 1925 in a move to make his country more up-to-date. A similar ban on the turban had been instituted in 1826 by Mahmud II. An inferior facsimile of the fez is sometimes worn by tourists, but Turks continue to face arrest for this infraction. Seal's trip during winter weather took him to the cities of Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia, and the Moroccan city of Fez, as well as many small towns seldom visited by tourists. Phoebe-Lou Adams noted in Atlantic Monthly that since Seal is familiar with Turkey, his complaints about his weather-related problems with snow, cold, and winds "arouse more impatience than pity." Adams called A Fez of the Heart "intelligent travel writing about a trip that does not arouse any impulse toward emulation."

William Grimes wrote in the New York Times Book Review that although Seal "is poor at describing scenery, he has the British gift for seizing upon absurdities, awkward situations, and the miseries of travel." A Publishers Weekly reviewer said Seal offers "both an engaging, often very funny travelogue, and real insights into Turkey's troubled balancing act between modernity and tradition." New Statesman & Society reviewer Robert Carver called Seal "a writer to watch."

In researching Treachery at Sharpnose Point: Unraveling the Mystery of the Caledonia's Final Voyage, Seal discovered that many of the recorded facts about the ship—wrecked and sunk in 1842—were wrong. Using narrative and fiction to recount the last days of the Caledonia, Seal tries to uncover the mysteries and inaccuracies surrounding the ship's demise. Booklist's Gilbert Taylor wrote that "Seal's riveting story will be a certain winner." A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt that Seal doesn't really recreate the history of the Caledonia, but rather "recounts the unearthing process," which he called "less engaging." Library Journal's Elizabeth Coates, however, found the book "lively" and "well-paced."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Atlantic Monthly, May, 1996, p. 120.

Bloom Review, November, 1996, p. 25.

Booklist, March 15, 1996, p. 1237; October 15, 2001, Gilbert Taylor, review of Treachery at Sharpnose Point: Unraveling the Mystery of the Caledonia's Final Voyage, p. 376.

BookWatch, April 14, 1996, p. 12.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 1996, p. 122.

Library Journal, April 1, 1996, p. 106; October 15, 2001, Isabel Coates, review of Treachery at Sharpnose Point, p. 93.

Publishers Weekly, January 29, 1996, p. 96; November 4, 1996, p. 46; October 8, 2001, review of Treachery at Sharpnose Point, p. 55.

Spectator, February 4, 1995, p. 29.

New Statesman, March 19, 1995, pp. 38-39.

New York Times Book Review, June 16, 1996, p. 13.

Times Educational Supplement, August 16, 1996, p. 17.

Times Literary Supplement, July 28, 1995, p. 10; March 12, 1999, Annette Kobak, review of The Snakebite Survivors' Club: Travels among Serpents, p. 10.

Wall Street Journal, March 27, 1996, p. A20; March 3, 2000, Andrew Horton, The Snakebite Survivors' Club, p. W10.*