Archive for the ‘Turkey’ Category


I don’t know why I resisted Orhan Pamuk all of these years, but one thing’s for sure – I now can’t live without him. I remember the critical acclaim that followed Pamuk in 2005 after the release of Snow, but even with a Nobel Prize under his belt, I was hardly swayed. That may have had something to do with my obsessive relationship with Philip Roth during that time – after all, I’m a loyal gal. And this Pamuk guy was not going to take me away from the legendary Zuckermans and Kepeshes of modern Jewish fiction.

This was all before a few months ago when I stumbled across a review of Pamuk’s literary masterpiece, The Museum of Innocence. The premise of the novel immediately had me fixated: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy spends the next eight years of his life…sitting in a living room with girl, her husband, and her parents, watching Turkish serials and the evening news, night after night. Now that’s what hooked me: the utter devotion and sacrifice that boy made just to see his beloved, day after day, for eight torturous years, with hardly any affirmation from his object of affection.

October 7, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Literary, Middle East, Nobel Prize for Literature, Reading Guide, Translated, Turkey, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

GENDARME by Mark T. Mustian

With the one hundredth anniversary of the Armenian deportations only a few years away, author Mark Mustian has set himself a daunting task: to follow his character’s footsteps and to serve as his own gendarme, a guide in the wilderness. For the most part, he succeeds admirably.

As Mr. Mustian writes in the epilogue, “Genocide perhaps represents the ugliest of human deeds, the mass killing of often defenseless fellow beings…Saying it didn’t happen is a mere recipe for recurrence.”

September 2, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Reading Guide, Turkey, World Lit

THE LOVERS by Vendela Vida

Vendela Vida’s relatively short novel, THE LOVERS, packs a big wallop. It is a multi-layered story about Yvonne, a widow, who returns to Turkey where she and her husband once honeymooned. She believes that by returning to the same place where they had been together early in her marriage, she will feel closer to him. Her husband Peter was recently killed in a hit and run car accident in their hometown of Burlington, Vermont. Yvonne has rented a large home, sight unseen, for a couple of weeks until she is scheduled to meet up with her son and daughter and their partners on a boating trip.

June 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Turkey, y Award Winning Author


“Irresponsible, spoiled and bourgeois.” One of the characters in THE MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE, Orhan Pamuk’s new novel, uses these labels to describe a segment of Istanbul’s young adults. These same descriptors could specifically apply to 30-year-old Kemal, the novel’s protagonist. Kemal, part of Istanbul’s upper class, spends his time managing a portion of the family business. He has the privilege of an education in America and as the novel opens, is about to be engaged to Sibel, the daughter of another wealthy family in the city. It’s slated to be a marriage between equals.

December 14, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Middle East, Nobel Prize for Literature, Translated, Turkey, World Lit, y Award Winning Author


In the delightful, genre defying novel, MANY AND MANY A YEAR AGO, from Turkish author, Selcuk Altun, Kemal Kuray is the son of the Assistant Cemetery Director–a former sergeant-major who played the tuba in the local air force band. Kemal’s father’s unfulfilled ambitions spill onto his son, and Kemal grows up with the indoctrination that there is “no calling more noble than that of a fighter pilot.” In time, Kemal, forbidden to play with the other children in the neighbourhood, grows up “studious and disciplined,” winning a scholarship to boarding school and eventually accepted into the Turkish Air Force Academy. Graduating with the rank of Lieutenant, Kemal begins flying an F-16 and as a hotshot pilot he is slated to become the “future commander of the Air Force.” A plane crash leaves Kemal injured, depressed and grounded, and his promising career is over before it really began.

November 4, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Literary, Mystery/Suspense, Translated, Turkey, World Lit

THE LAST WAR by Ana Menendez

If you become numb to the conflict of constant war, does it prevent you from dealing with your own personal battles? In THE LAST WAR, by Ana Menendez, Flash and Brando get paid to travel and document war – he the “Wonderboy” journalist, she the photographer/wife that follows in his shadow.

August 10, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Turkey, World Lit