Orhan Pamuk’s latest novel has rightly been called a love letter to his home city of Istanbul, but this may mislead unfamiliar readers; for the pages convey neither swooning adoration nor healthy affection, but rather Pamuk’s compulsive fascination with this place. Through the eyes of his sensitive protagonist, he takes us on a street-level tour … Continue reading ‘A Strangeness in My Mind’ by Orhan Pamuk
Sel Erder Yackley is a native Türk -- an immigrant and now a citizen of America. I had the chance to hear her sharing memories of living with a bipolar spouse. Her black and white book cover looked awfully grim, the title even grimmer, and the subject did nothing to make me say, "gee, I … Continue reading ‘Never Regret The Pain: Loving and Losing a Bipolar Spouse’ by Sel Erder Yackley
One of the advantages of reading in my adopted language of Turkish is, of course, the range of books available in Turkey by Turkish authors. Books published in Turkey are much cheaper than foreign-language imported books, so this book seemed like a bargain when a bookseller recommended it to me. It changed the way I … Continue reading A Documentary Novel: “The Entrusted Trousseau – Peoples of the Exchange” by Kemal Yalçin
In Turkish history, secretive groups have taken a particular type of pleasure from staging coups. Authors of the Turkish language, meanwhile, have been taking a different, literary type of pleasure from writing about their attempts at usurping political power. During the Latin American boom of the 1960s and 1970s, writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and … Continue reading Usurping Words: Turkish Coup Literature
Getting Turkish books published in English is tough. Publishers already have an idea of the types are marketable: those about the meeting of East and West, warfare and/or women’s rights. Stories that fall outside of these paradigms have a very difficult time finding a publisher. One reason for this seems to be publishers’ belief that … Continue reading The Roads Where Love Walked: An Excerpt from ‘Wûf’
'Exile,' is a book of 45 short stories written by the contemporary Turkish writer, Çilar Ilhan, and translated by Ayşegül Toroser Ateş. Many of the stories are told on a single page, or just a few pages total. Because of this, the book may be a perfect commuting read or book club pick for the … Continue reading An Excerpt from Ciler Ilhan’s ‘Exile’
By Monica Fritz In this exquisite edition, two significant men collaborate: photographer Ara Güler and writer Orhan Pamuk. Both native to the city, and experts in their own right, through the visual and the written word, a natural union. Istanbul seems to be disappearing before our eyes. A glimpse of its magic can still be … Continue reading ‘Ara Guler’s Istanbul: 40 Years of Photographs’ with a foreword by Orhan Pamuk
"I was the one who must go to Najaf for training as an imam, he told me, and not my brother, who loathed study of any kind. It looked to me like I was being offered up as a sacrifice."
Today, the International Prize for Arabic Fiction -- the most glittery and high-profile prize for Arabic literature -- put out its 2017 longlist. We take this opportunity to look at some of the major pan-Arab literary prizes, particularly those that promote translation into English.