Ellie McKnight is a bright academic working at Belfast University. When she falls for a minor diplomat, Ellie throws caution to the wind, jettisons her career and follows him to a posting at the British Consulate in Istanbul. And so begins her extraordinary journey in Margaret Whittock’s ingenious and atmospheric novel, Ghost of Gallipoli. Our protagonist is quickly thrown into the rarified world of the diplomatic corps and it’s a loose fit. Ensconced in a grand imperial pile in the hills above the Bosphorus, she crashes into the pomposity of middle England and we are treated to a legion of small-minded expatriates, a ‘tight-knit group of wives into jam and chutney making’ led by head bitch, Alice Melefont. But all is not as it seems.
More and more people are globally mobile, moving from their home country to other international locations to support global business needs. Sadly, few companies take advantage of the vast knowledge that these roving managers gain of different markets, ideas for inventing or enhancing products and services, and strengthened human networks across functions and geographies. Also, few companies seem to realize that repatriation “shock” is often a more difficult transition than the culture shock expatriates experience when going abroad. According to Brookfield’s 2015 Global Mobility Report, only 5% of companies measure the ROI of international assignments at all. Even though the business case for having a strong “Repatriation Process” is easy to make, only a handful of companies actually have one.