Category Archives: Turkish Short Story

Top Reads 2011

As 2011 comes to a close what better way to mark it than through books. These are just a few of the memorable highs in a year overwhelming packed with lows.

İlhan Berk, Çiğnenmiş Gül. YKY, 2011. The unmistakable voice of İlhan Berk, as much alive as ever. [in Turkish]

Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, in a marvelous translation by Dick Davis. A spellbinding book of the pre-islamic Persian Kings. Penguin Books, 2007.

Evliyâ Çelebi’s Seyahatnâmesi, Book 2, Volume 1. Çelebi’s account of his journey to Trabzon in 1640 is one of the most important and compelling portraits we have of the city in Ottoman times. YKY, 2011. [in Turkish]

Evliya Çelebi, An Ottoman Traveller: Selection from the Book of Travels, trans. by Robert Dankoff & Sooyong Kim. Eland, 2010. Indisputably the most important single work of translation from Turkish to English for a decade. Long overdue, and not to be missed. The greatest travel writer of the Ottoman Empire, Çelebi has been described as a Turkish Pepys, a Muslim Montaigne and an Ottoman Herodotus. His interests range from architecture to natural history, through religion, politics, linguistics, music, science, food and the supernatural.

Michael Psellus, Fourteen Byzantine Rulers, trans. by E. R. A. Sewter. Penguin, 1966.

Pindar, The Complete Odes, trans. by Anthony Verity. Oxford, 2007.

Birhan Keskin, Soğuk Kazı. Metis, 2010. Keskin’s stunning, untranslatable eighth book. [in Turkish]

Turki Al Hamad, Shumaisi, trans. by Paul Starkey. Saqi, 2005. The second part of this Saudi novelist’s explosive coming-of-age trilogy. An extraordinary view into one of the world’s most secretive and hidden societies.

Asuman Suner, New Turkish Cinema: Belonging, Identity & Memory. I. B. Tauris, 2010. An interesting overview of the contemporary cinema scene in Turkey, notable for its treatment of Nuri Bilge Ceylan – the first significant assessment of his work so far in English – and for overlooking Semih Kaplanoğlu.

Andrew Brown, Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future that Disappeared. Granta, 2009.

Faruk Duman, Sencer ile Yusufçuk. Can, 2009. The fifth collection from a master of the Turkish short story. Is there anyone writing like Faruk Duman? What a shame you can’t read his work in English. [in Turkish]

Samuel Hearne, A Journey to the Northern Ocean. TouchWood, 2007. One of the greatest adventure narratives ever written, the story of Hearne’s three-year trek to seek a trade route across the Canadian Barrens in the Northwest Territories. First published in 1795.

Memet Can Doğan, Attar. YKY, 2009. The fifth collection from this fascinating young Turkish poet. [in Turkish]

David Thompson, The Travels, 1850 Version. Edited by William E. Moreau. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009. The book jacket says it all in describing Thompson’s Travels as “one of the finest early expressions of the Canadian experience. The work is not only an account of a remarkable life in the fur trade but an extended meditation on the land and Native peoples of western North America.” A mesmerizing read from cover to cover.


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Filed under ilhan Berk, Poetry of the Middle East, Political discussion, Travels, Turkish Poetry, Turkish Short Story

The Light in Hayriye

by Ömer Faruk Toprak

Ömer Faruk ToprakIt was a road I took morning and night, stretching down to the sea. In winter it got a little muddy but when spring came it looked clean to me. I guess the market traders washed it down with water. I knew all the faces of the fishermen and the young bloods selling fruit & vegetables. If I ever went past without saying hello I’d get no more than five steps when I’d hear them call out behind:

“Abi, don’t go without these fresh lettuces. I’ll cut out two of these hearts for you”.

Even when I wasn’t sure what to buy they’d choose something and thrust it into my hand. It was like there was some feeling that bound us. I didn’t look down on them and they never showed me any disrespect.

I suppose it was the beginning of April. I’d left work early and was walking around aimlessly. Continue reading

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Yellow Dog

By Ömer Faruk Toprak

Yellow Dog Crying by MagerlIn Edremit, on the north facing slopes of Mount Kaz, winter lasts seven months. On the western sides the weather is warmer, and for nine months brings to the people there a spring-like climate. At eight hundred meters the cold, cool air increases. The people of these parts, more especially the villagers and shepherds, know well the coldness, the ill-minded winds of this mountain, and they’re keen to sense them coming. In these winds the sheep are driven into hay barns for shelter. There are seven types of mountain grass, and you’d be surprised to see mountain flowers you’d never seen elsewhere. Continue reading

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