• Bestselling Brouhaha: Correspondent Yigal Schleifer was initially tipped off to the explosive popularity of the anti-American war novel "Metal Storm"(page 1) by a friend who was just visiting Istanbul. "He noticed his taxi driver was reading it. Then, another friend mentioned it. And then I saw it mentioned by newspaper columnists here. Within two weeks it had taken off," says Yigal.
Arranging to meet the coauthors turned out to be as simple as buying the book. "Their e-mail address is in the book. I sent them an e-mail, they answered right back, and we met at cafe for the interview. They're both working on their next novels. Orkun Ucar is writing a political thriller about Israel's role in the Middle East. Burak Turna is working on a novel that includes a scenario for World War III."
What did Yigal think of Metal Storm? "Well, to be honest my Turkish isn't good enough to read it all the way through. The authors want to get it translated into English, but haven't lined up a US publisher yet," he says.
• Amazon Highway: Correspondent Andrew Downie took two flights from his home in Rio de Janeiro, followed by a four-hour drive to get to the last town on the paved portion of a Brazilian highway going into the Amazon rain forest (page 7). "On either side of the road were vast stretches of soybean fields. But the difference in the scenery once we got beyond [the town of] Guarantá was striking," he says. "The road turned to dirt and, almost immediately, the forest closed in on either side. The development stopped at the end of the paved road."
The size of the Amazon highway was also brought home by the trip. "You can drive for hours on these little highways and see the deforestation on either side. But when you pull out the map to see how much territory you've covered, you really haven't gone very far."
David Clark Scott