According to the National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria, in general, Bulgarian citizens of Turkish origin living abroad make up 12% of short term migration, 13% of long term migration, and 12% of the labour migration.  However, Bulgarian citizens of Turkish origin often make up entire majorities in some countries in Europe.  For example, in the Netherlands Bulgarian Turks make up about 80% of Bulgarian citizens.  Moreover, academics have pointed out that most Bulgarian Turks who migrate to Western Europe choose to live in Germany and that they outnumber those living in the Netherlands. 
Rowena is Robert's older sister, with whom Robert felt a connection from a very early age. She was hydrocephalic , meaning she was born with water in the brain. This caused her to have an adult-sized head but a body of a ten-year-old, and made her unable to walk. Robert acted as her guardian for most of his life. She was 25 years old when she fell out of her wheelchair onto the concrete floor of their barn and died as a result. Robert took it as his duty to protect her, but Robert was in his room masturbating when she fell out of her chair. Thus, he feels guilty throughout the novel for inadvertently causing her death. She remains in Robert's heart and mind throughout the novel and is constantly referenced.