Halilhan Sunteriler, would-be entrepreneur, rescues from the scrap heap a red Volvo, which he believes will lead him to big money in business ventures. So he solicits the help of his staunch friend Gogi, the most “cultured” man of the neighborhood, and gradually Halilhan’s two younger brothers, Hazmi and Mesut, are also drawn into the project.
With penetrating insights into the poor man’s tragicomic hunt for money in the surreal world of commerce, the final confrontation of brothers Halilhan and Hazmi provides the open end for a story of unending struggle.
Elif Shafak, born 1971 in Strasbourg, spent her teenage years in Spain before returning to Turkey. She is an outstanding name amongst young Turkish authors, and has written four novels and won the Mevlana Prize for the best work in mystical and transcendental literature. She holds a masters degree in Women’s Studies and is currently an Assistant professor at Tuscan University, Arizona.
Laural Merlington has performed and directed for 30 years in regional theaters throughout the country. She has recorded over 100 audiobooks, including many by Fern Michaels, and is the recipient of several AudioFile Magazine Earphone Awards. In addition to her extensive theater and voiceover work, Laural teaches college in her home state of Michigan.
Prominent writers in Britain praise The Other Side of the Mountain:
“This is a remarkable and important novel, a powerful evocation not only of Turkish history through the twentieth century, but also of world history and of the interweaving of nationalism and ideology. The passages set in Cambridge are beautiful. The blending of the personal and the documentary is superbly handled, and the lyrical prose is finely translated. Although the story is told largely through the lives of its extraordinary and pioneering women, Atas? also writes powerfully and convincingly in the male voice. Passionate without being sentimental, The Other Side of the Mountain is a bold and poignant novel, which defines the struggles and ideals of a whole nation.”
- Margaret Drabble
*synopsis for Other Side Of The Mountain acquired from www.bn.com
A vital part of modern Turkish literature, Hikmet (1902-1963) was a poet whose lyrics, as sung by leftist performers such as Pete Seeger, had international resonance, and whose repeated imprisonments drew protests from the likes of Pablo Picasso and Jean-Paul Sartre. This novel in verse, written during one long prison sentence in the 1940s, reflects the emotional and physical torments the poet experienced. More gritty than lyrical, it is powerfully plainspoken: “But Selim was no Communist. He didn’t even know what communism was …But the cops thought different. They laid Selim on the floor. And when Selim got up, he couldn’t step on his feet. They laid Selim on the floor. And when Selim got up, he couldn’t see.” A revised version of a 1983 abridged Persea edition, this volume disappoints in at least one respect: a facile preface by Edward Hirsch, who states that Hikmet’s “voice is sad and reads like music; it is joyful and sounds like happiness.” Hikmet’s writing is poetry under siege, and the blunt heroism of his characters makes them more Marxist ideals than believable human beings. The poetic element may not survive well in translation, but the content and context make this a lastingly fascinating work. As translator Konuk writes, the book describes “people from different social backgrounds and classes, ranging from the dispossessed and the unemployed to senators and industrialists… from factory workers and peasants to doctors and professors’ wives.” This is recommended for all modern literature collections, as evidence of the indomitable human will toward free speech in spite of great suffering. (May 23) FYI: In celebration of the centennial of Hikmet’s birth, Persea is releasing a revised edition of Poems of Nazim Hikmet simultaneously. Fans of socially committed writing will want both Persea selections, as well as an excellent Anvil Press collection, Beyond the Walls: Selected Poems by Nazim Hikmet. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Turkey’s greatest novelist, Yashar Kemal is an unsurpassed storyteller who brings to life a world of staggering violence and hallucinatory beauty. Kemal’s books delve deeply into the entrenched social and historical conflicts that scar the Middle East. At the same time scents and sounds, vistas of mountain and stream and field, rise up from the pages of his books with primitive force.
Memed—introduced in Kemal’s legendary first novel, Memed, My Hawk, and a recurrent character in many of his books—is one of the few truly mythic figures of modern fiction, a desperado and sometime defender of the oppressed who is condemned to wander in the blood-soaked gray zone between justice and the law. In They Burn the Thistles, one of the finest of Kemal’s novels, Memed is on the run. Hunted by his enemies, wounded, at wit’s end, he has lost faith in himself and has retreated to ponder the vanity of human wishes. Only a chance encounter with an extraordinarily beautiful and powerful stallion, itself a hunted creature, serves to restore his determination and rouse him to action.
*synopsis for The Black Book acquired from www.bn.com
Fifteen-year-old Meryem lives in a rural village in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey. Her simple, conventional way of life changes dramatically after her uncle, a sheikh in a dervish order, rapes her—and condemns her to death for shaming the family. Asked to carry out the “honor killing” is his son Cemal, a commando in the Turkish army. So begins a long, mystifying voyage for Meryem as her shell-shocked cousin ushers her to the shining metropolis of Istanbul where another troubled soul, the Harvard-educated professor Irfan, embarks on his own journey of transformation—one that catapults him into the heart of Meryem and Cemal’s conflict. The crossed-paths and interwoven destinies of these three characters makes for an affecting, by turns brutal and life-affirming portrayal of traditional and modern-day Turkey that no reader will soon forget.