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A Tight Wide-open Space: Finding love in a Muslim land Paperback – August 5, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matt’s writing career stretches back to a letter he wrote in the fourth grade to President Ronald Reagan.

It is appalling that a 9-year old kid would speak to the Leader of the Free World as boldly and as presumptuously as Matt did in that letter.

In fact, if someone spoke to Matt now in the same tone he himself used with the President 30 years ago, Matt would slap that guy in the face. The US and the Soviet Union never came to nuclear blows though, so that letter must have done some good.

After single-handedly saving the world from nuclear destruction, Matt taught English in China, imported kitchenware into the US, and screwed down payroll for a national apparel retailer. Along the way, Matt has never stopped writing. He has written for the Hurriyet Daily News and Today’s Zaman newspapers in Turkey, and he blogs at mattkrause.com.

By the way, he has never forgotten his college-era dream of walking from Cork, Ireland, to Ho Chi Minh City, but he should probably get that done before he is 70 and needs hip replacement surgery.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1460910435
  • ISBN-13: 978-1460910436
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matt's writing career stretches back to a letter he wrote in the fourth grade to President Ronald Reagan. It is appalling that a 9-year old kid would speak to the Leader of the Free World as boldly and as presumptuously as Matt did in that letter. In fact, if someone spoke to Matt now in the same tone he himself used with the President 30 years ago, Matt would slap that guy in the face. The US and the Soviet Union never came to nuclear blows though, so that letter must have done some good.

After single-handedly saving the world from nuclear destruction, Matt taught English in China, imported kitchenware into the US, and screwed down payroll for a national apparel retailer. Along the way, Matt has never stopped writing. He has written for the Hurriyet Daily News and Today's Zaman newspapers in Turkey, and he blogs at mattkrause.com.

By the way, he has never forgotten his college-era dream of walking from Cork, Ireland, to Ho Chi Minh City, but he should probably get that done before he is 70 and needs hip replacement surgery.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Warren on August 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
In A Tight Wide-open Space, author Matt Krause takes the reader on an intimate, sometimes funny, sometimes nerve-wracking journey. The book is written in a manner that is casual enough, and brief, that he could very well be sitting on your porch, sharing his tales over a nice cold beverage. Far from an idealized, romantic Hollywood plot, Matt's tale is one that any of us could easily place ourselves in, and one from which there is something each of us can take away.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tyler on September 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
In A Tight Wide-open Space, the author shares his perspective as an American who moved to Turkey for a woman. His stories are honest and humble, as he tries to give a realistic perspective of his experiences. The author doesn't hide or sugar coat his frustrations of living in a country where he had significant cultural and language barriers. Each story is thought-provoking as he tries to draw a lesson from every experience. The author's ability to dissect and analyze his experiences is what makes this such an engaging and enjoyable read. Some of the stories are much more successful than others, a few chapters left me somewhat uninterested. However, those chapters were the few and far between. The honest and casual tone of the book made me feel like I was able to share in his journey. Rarely do you read a book and feel like you are getting to know the author on a personal level; this is one of those books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jo Parfitt on January 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Great descriptions and a fascinating insight into life in Turkey, both as a local and as an expat. Going there for love allowed us to find out more about how it feels to integrate into a real family, as the author gives us glimpses of the woman known only as 'my girlfriend' and later 'my wife'- the reason for this becomes clear... Krause's historical asides make this far more than a memoir, being both well-written and accessible. As an entrepreneur, I loved learning about how he went about starting a business based on exporting local goods and was impressed with his frankness about what worked and what didn't. This gave the book several dimensions and added to my enjoyment.Sunshine Soup - nourishing the global soul However, I was left hungry for more detail about the love and relationships side of things, but maybe that's coz I'm a girl!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By awalls on August 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
This short novel is an intelligent and down to earth description of some of the authors time in Istanbul. It's told in short chapters that are "slices" of life. It's heartfelt stuff, like when he meets his future wife and how he ends up in Turkey, to his guilty conscience over a dressing down of a street urchin, to his weekly "hack" soccer game with ex-pat friends. His observations of everyday life, the look and pulse of the city, the people, make this novel personal and the historical background added in make it very interesting. It puts Istanbul and Turkish people on my to-do list.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mdp on August 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
Anyone who has had the great fortune to live in Istanbul knows that every day brings a new challenge and nothing can ever be taken for granted. If nothing else these sometimes frustrating, sometimes amazing experiences lead to a lot of great stories. In this book Matt Krause tells us some of his stories, leading the reader through the city as he shares the ups and downs and daily adventures he experienced while trying to make Istanbul his home. A Tight Wide-open Space is an entertaining and enlightening account of what he learned about the city, its inhabitants and himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lindaajanssen on September 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
LOVED this book of personal essays/non-fiction short stories of Matt Krause's marriage and life in Turkey. He has an honest, gentle style and excels at showing rather than merely telling. I won't give away the ending but I think the epilogue is one of the most sensitively written pieces I've read in ages.
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Format: Paperback
The title, "Tight Wide Open Space," perfectly reflects the charismatic, crazy, contradictory nature of the city that is Istanbul, where most of the incidents in the book are based. It's a city that's both East and West, Islamic yet secular, both modern yet traditional, and anonymous and yet intimate. It's a sprawling megapolis where there are pockets of neighborhoods with a village feel and your corner grocer and baker greet you by name. It's a place where some things are held together with a bandaid and a prayer while others are tangled in bureaucracy. As Matt says, it's a city that tries your patience and sometimes makes you fight just to be there.

Matt has captured the essence of what it's like to be an expat in Istanbul. He has wonderfully woven his personal experiences, warts-n-all, with interesting and useful information about the city that most new arrivals have to pick up as they go along. This book is a wonderful read, and as other reviewers have said, feels as warm and confiding as if you were sitting listening to a friend sharing his anecdotes.

Matt skillfully articulates the challenges and rewards and the joys and disappointments of trying to find your place in a new home in a new city and a new culture. Matt's storytelling is insightful, honest and humble, and the book is one which will resonate with many expats... especially those of us trying to adapt to living in this city of contradictions.
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