Reader Reviews

40 thoughts on “Reader Reviews

  1. It took me to a time and place of hope. Where culture is different, yet the desire to love and be a part of something bigger than yourself means more than the those differences. A time where love is the bond that helps you get through the fight and where the fight is what defines who you strive to become. I enjoyed this book very much.

  2. I absolutely fell in love with this story! I don’t know how much of this book is true, but I wish I did. I loved every character!! The story was beautiful, sad, frustrating, hopeful – sometimes all at the same time.
    At some times I wanted to hop on a plane and go to Turkey, at other parts I decided it was the last place I would want to go. I even took a break one day to do some google – mapping to find the towns.
    I loved this book. It truly moved me.

  3. The settings are unique, the protagonists are audacious and interesting, the plight of the Kurds is fascinating, and the ending is innovative.

  4. What a truly awesome book… as in, I am in awe. It’s the kind of book that gets under your skin and that you don’t want to let go of. It’s is still sinking in… I learned some history and got a close-up glimpse into another culture. I laughed and I cried. I found I could identify with the female characters. I was deeply moved and I know it will stay with me for a long time. Very thought-provoking, as only good writing can do. I want to and will read it again.

    Thank you for the beautiful lessons and for a great read,


    • Thank you Lynn!
      Lynn was my first fan- she took me out to lunch to chat and look at Turkey photos, she bought a second copy and donated it to her library, she read the book twice in a month…and most touching to me- she dreamed about it twice!

  5. What a fantastic read! I couldn’t put it down and finished the book in three days. My daughter bought the book for me for Christmas because she thought I would enjoy the memories, having spent a few years in Turkey in the past.
    The way the author described the experiences and life in Turkey was truly amazing. From the sleezy Turkish men who told lies to tourists for their own gain, to the Hamams and the small pleasures that they bring, to the scenery, language, culture and food. All was written by the author with amazing insight.
    The characters in the book came alive as if you were apart of their adventure, feeling their pain and rejoicing with the small wins that they had in their fight to remain individuals in a very small and closed minded community.
    You don’t have to have travelled through Turkey to get lost in this book – the author does this for you! I have and will again, recommend this book. Awesome,

    • Thanks Kylie- it means a lot coming from someone who’s been there. My experience was a narrow slice of Turkey, I realize, but I wrote what I saw. And then I made some stuff up! But it was easy, and fun, to create with those characters in that place- “What would they say/do if …. happened?”
      Thank you for your thoughts and recommendations too.

  6. Not only was it incredibly well written, but the story itself and the way it was told was just so touching and … Well … Real. I felt as if I was experiencing the journey alongside Laurie. I understand that parts of the book were fiction but as a whole it was Laurie’s story… And it was beautiful.

    I hope she has great success with the book and that many other lucky readers get to experience her journey as I had the pleasure of doing.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. I just finished reading “The Word Not Spoken”, greatest novel I’ve read thus far…beautiful piece. It took me less than a month. I laughed often, and cried a lot, especially in the last 50 pages. Me and my husband discussed parts of it, he interpreted Leigh as a strong woman and I completely identified with her. A must read; the style of writing aroused many feelings as in…a love story…psychological thriller…action/adventure…drama…spiritual surprises…even war and politics (which is easy to take an interest in this book).

  8. Laurie is the best word player in the novel writing field.She tells us her true story in such a beautiful and humorous way that forces us to take a couple days off work to finish it .The word not spoken is about the clashes of western-eastern mentalities regarding love,courage .fighting for freedom,respect,hospitality,marriage , family relationships.and the beauty of nature.It could not have been written better than that . Seems like she has taken the brains out of her head to push the reader finish her 588-paged novel at a time when we do have enough leisure to reply our daily emails.

  9. I loved your novel. I thought it was an incredible story and an amazing book. I could not put it down. I like the photos too- it looks beautiful, so different from here. I have lent the book to some friends who really liked it also.

  10. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your book. The emotions it brought out in me and the way it inspired me to continue to be a voice for my voiceless people. It was such a beautifully well-written story, journey. I didn’t agree with everything written but I loved every bit of it.
    Thank you so much.
    With warm regards,

  11. Dear Laurie
    I loved your novel as much as a mother loves her new-born baby. It was perfect in every aspect. Though Hemingway has said that writers are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master , but you have proved him wrong .You have recalled the childhood of my Kurdish nation by writing THE WORD NOT SPOKEN.

    • Thank you Rawaz! Quite a number of Kurds have told me that reading the book is like going home for a visit. It is an unexpected and gratifying reaction.

  12. Loved this book. Turkey is a part of the world I know I will never be able to visit, and now I feel like I have been there. The book describes the places, the culture, the people so well– I feel I have experienced it vividly.
    Thank you Laurie for the trip!

  13. Hello Laurie
    I just finished reading The Word Not Spoken. And I have to get the self-congratulations out of the way since it’s the longest piece of fiction I’ve ever read. Alas, my mental block when it comes to fiction was only confirmed when I saw your website had discussion questions. The teacher in me wishes I’d seen those before reading to give me more focus, although I do remember you mentioning the water.

    The other thing I’ll get out of the way is a comment I’ve not seen on Amazon, Goodreads, or your website: The Word Not Spoken has the most sexual references in a book I’ve ever read. But it really is more a comment of my reading choices since I rarely ever read fiction.

    Your book created very strong visuals for me about the landscapes. I was happy to look at your pix on the website after reading to see the towns and your pink kitchen. But it was the characters that made the strongest impression on me like Alba (yikes!), Ismail, Anne, and Chegi…. Poor Chegi, where’s Chegi?? It’s been fun to live with these characters for the past month. The section about Jess was a page turner too.

    And, naturally, because I know you, it was the relationship between Leigh and Ahmet that was the focal point for me. They were so vivid. As a reader I went through something I’ve never experienced before: knowing the “real Leigh” and knowing the ending but constantly wondering what was or wasn’t true. Everytime I smiled at Ahmet’s bravado, felt the heat of their passionate debates, and saw the cuddly moments with the exchanges of the Turkish affectionate “Bey” or “Benim Janim”, I also got that sense of foreboding because I knew what was going to happen.

    I don’t think I fully understood what you were feeling when you came to my place after the Korean church service. Of course, I recognized a friend who needed consolation and a safe place. After reading the book, my memory of that evening in Osaka has changed and has added layers.

    I always take it as some sort of sign from the universe when I see links between what I’m reading for leisure and the news. With the craziness that’s happening in Iraq again and ISIS insurgents, there have been some articles in the paper about the Kurds. Your book and the Douglas College “Words and Kurds” event that I attended in Vancouver have given me more context. I could’ve read it when I got it months ago, but it turned out to be more prescient by reading it now.

    Congrats again on your work! I hope the word spreads.

    • Hi Jeff
      Ya, there’s negligible sex in the non-fiction you’re reading these days!.
      Sex is huge in the relationship for Leigh and Ahmet, esp. at the beginning. It shows the chemistry, impulsiveness, motivation even lack of judgement. I read a lot of fiction, but I hate stuff that skips the sex, closes the door and fades out the scene. At the same time I don’t want to face the nasties- fluids or blunt language or too much visual…it’s a balance and personal taste.
      Some people (women) have commented that they like the way I wrote the sex- they like the frankness and sometimes the beauty of it, the intimacy. Four people over 70 said it was “too much”, most people don’t comment on it at all.
      Over time, there is less sex and it is mentioned in less detail “Soon they were rolling all over the carpet” The reader by then knows what that means. But as well, other intimacies replace sex. At one point Jean (Lenihan, the editor) noted in the margin “I’m surprised they’re working on the book right away here, usually they’d have sex at this point”. Part of it is the natural flow of evolving intimacy and maturing relationships.
      Yes, poor Chegi. He was just a palm-full. Something must have eaten him. “Innocence” in the story. “That’s the thing about bunnies. Once they’re gone they never come back.”
      Anyway, lots of the book is pure fiction and plenty of truth was omitted. Always more complicated, harder in real life– I didn’t think the reader could take it.
      Yes, my instinct was to go to you that evening. “Muslims don’t come in heaven.” So you are in Nicole. So are some other friends. Nicole is lots of travellers, lots of stories in one skin.
      Thanks for reading Jeff.
      Love Laurie

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed your book and I have recommended it to all of my book friends on Goodreads. It was amazing, Laurie – I couldn’t put it down all weekend!! Fascinating story, well done!”

  15. Dear Fraser

    I am writing you this message to show my appreciation for sharing your page-turner novel with me.

    I was very amazed and excited throughout the whole time reading your novel. Your novel particularly excited my imagination due to the familiarity of the stories to me. Most of the time I felt like I was an actor, because of your lucid depiction.

    Let me to thank you again for sharing this treasured work of yours with me. I really enjoyed reading it.

    Ali (Iraqi Kurdistan)

  16. As a young woman and an avid traveler, I highly enjoyed The Word Not Spoken. The beautifully constructed sentences created a vivid picture in my head, as if I were the one experiencing what Leigh did. I enjoyed the political aspect of the book as well because I learnt about some things that I was unaware of. Reading this book temporarily satisfied my own travel bug, as I felt as though I was on the journey with her. The tales of love were moving and highly relatable. The book had me smiling, laughing, crying, yearning, anticipating and feeling downright intrigued.

  17. Great insight and a great read!!
    The book helps shed light on a very complicated situation with a real human touch to it.

  18. Great insight and a great read!!

    The book helps shed light on a very complicated situation with a real human touch to it.


  19. Our book club read your book and met last week. For the first time in quite a long time, everyone finished the book. That’s saying something. Often at least one of us doesn’t like the book enough to finish it. We had great discussions about it, the characters, the Kurdish situation, the locations, and of course the food (we bring food the book makes us think of). Lots of discussion regarding the current ISIS situation. Thanks so much for enabling this!

  20. This book was sent to me in Australia by a Kurdish friend in Canada – I read it just now, in about 2 weeks, whilst working on some Kurdish/English translation with this same friend.
    Having lived in a Kurdish family myself over a period of 5 years, but in Iraqi-Kurdistan, ‘The Word Not Spoken’ was a fascinating, often frustrating, and at the same time, special read for me. My familiarity with Eastern Turkey, the Kurdish struggle for identity and the politics of the region added to how I related this book. I loved the way it was written in an easy often intimate style revealing the characters in such a way that you had to keep reading to learn more about their lives, even if it was hard to separate true life from the fiction.
    Leigh’s impulsive decisions, her precipitous marriage to the charismatic Ahmet and her way of being in the country as revealed throughout the book served well to show the chasm between East and West in areas of thinking, relationships, religion, politics and life in general. Naivety, ignorance, ingenuousness and innocence take the reader on a fascinating journey.
    The book as a whole is a great tool opening the door for those who have no understanding of the Kurdish struggle for a homeland, country, freedom and recognition – giving them a glimpse inside that struggle as it was in the 90s. Well done Laurie, for using your own personal experience as the foundation of a wonderful read.

  21. Deeply and impressively subversive in a way or another… Through her words Laurie Fraser makes the readers laugh and cry, it’s an adventures journey through joy and sorrow. A love story that gives a comprehensive introduction about Turkish costume, politic, human rights and the Kurdish issue.
    Highly recommended especially for us that had lived in those areas that story takes place,

  22. Hi Laurie,
    Thank you so much for coming to our book club meeting several weeks ago. I had great feedback from the gals and having the author there was not only a first for our group, it was also enlightening and added a wonderful, lively dimension to it which I thoroughly enjoyed.

  23. I recently started reading your book and have been enjoying it greatly. The reading continues…I came across your book at an event at the Ottawa downtown library. Hope to see you again at future events.

  24. Wow! It seemed very personal to me… all the detail. Fabulous dialogue. You really have an ear for dialogue. Amazing that it is your first book. Congrats. Beautiful writing, loved the prose. Great action too, pulling me along. It was a fully occupying experience for me: the writing, the story, the place. Thank you for writing this!

  25. Hi Laurie,
    Just finished your novel and enjoyed it very much. Very insightful on cultural differences. For example, the warmth Leigh receives from her Kurdish family after two years on her final return, her initial Bayram claustrophobia now replaced by a feeling of home, underlines for me at least the frustrating loneliness of Canadian life I’ve often heard expressed by newcomer students in Canadian ESL classes.
    Of course, the novel is also a memorable story of love.

  26. So, this was a fabulous book, written by a good friend of my husband’s. I went into it with some trepidation, knowing the basic subject matter & not knowing if I would “relate” or not. Well, I suppose I didn’t really “relate”, but that didn’t matter – I had such a vivid picture of Leigh’s situation and her Kurdish husband, Ahmet, was such a clearly drawn character – they leapt off the page, to coin a phrase. I would have crashed and burned within 30 seconds of finding myself in Leigh’s shoes, and the patriarchal/sexist/sometimes abusive social norms made me really, really angry – but that should be what happens when we read about such things. What was interesting was the way it was explained from the Kurdish/Turkish point of view and why it makes sense to them, even if it doesn’t make much sense to us Canadians. I learned a ton about the history and culture of Turkey and enjoyed reading about some of the familiar sites in Istanbul, from my own very brief visit a few years ago. It’s a place I would love to go back to someday.

    I know that this story very closely mimics Laurie Fraser’s real life experiences with her real life husband, and that makes it even more disturbing, fascinating, scary, realistic, and emotional.

    A very highly recommended read to all of my friends. Do Laurie a favour and read this book & get her discovered. She deserves it.

  27. Wow, what an amazing story! I didn’t want it to end but sadly it did. I loved the characters, Leigh and Ahmet and the locations in Turkey felt rather familiar as I’d visited Goreme and Istanbul last year. Unfortunately I wouldn’t have had the courage of Leigh to stay there. The sense of heat and odours, food and drink and differences in cultures came alive through the writing. The last few chapters were quite a roller coaster ride but I think the way it was done helped make the ending more acceptable to me. My favourite line spoken often by Ahmet is, “If it is true, I must say it.” If you’ve read the book, you’ll understand the humour in that line.

  28. I cried when the book was done, I didn’t want it to be over. The writing was so beautiful, I could see, and hear, and taste, and smell the surroundings. And it’s amazing that it’s almost all true. The ending was heart-wrenching and beautiful. I hope the author writes other books as well.

  29. BEST book I ever read and I’ve read a lot of books in my life, so I know what I’m saying. I would never go to that place, Turkey, NEVER.

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