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Turkish Poetry and Literature

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Ten Turkish Books Recommended by Sel├žuk Altun
1.       Aisha_Bilqis
23 posts
 12 Sep 2013 Thu 11:55 am

According to the English newspaper, The Guardian, Selçuk Altun recommended reading these ten books which in his eyes represent some of the best writings produced by Turkish writers.


Selçuk Altun´s top 10 Turkish books

From Orhan Pamuk to names few English readers will have heard, the novelist picks out the jewels of a literature we should know better.


1. «Mrs Valley´s War: The Shelter Stories» by Feyyaz Kayacan Fergar

Six engrossing short stories about the struggle of a handful of people in wartime London who embrace life with hope. The author, an eminent Turkish poet, respectfully witnesses their heroic resistance.

2. «The Poems of Oktay Rifat» by Oktay Rifat

The modernist Oktay Rifat was the grand master of sophisticated simplicity. Many of his lines are as powerful as individual poems.

3. «Memed, My Hawk» by Yaşar Kemal

The only son of a poor widow, Memed has to fight for his love and life against an evil feudal lord in southern Turkey. A tour de force.

4 «Yaşar Kemal: On his Life and Art» by Yaşar Kemal

I´m a compulsive reader of autobiographies and biographies. This is the most powerful life story I´ve ever read. Master storyteller Kemal´s saga is brilliantly illuminated with questions from the influential French poet Alain Bosquet.

5. «My Name Is Red» by Orhan Pamuk

A grand literary thriller and historical journey set in the 16th century. Nobel prize-winner Pamuk delivers a perplexing blend of art, religion, power and love in the ever-mysterious Ottoman era.

6. «Istanbul, Memories of a City» by Orhan Pamuk

A genre-defying jewel of literature, İstanbul and Pamuk time-travelling together. Captivatingly sorrowful, the book is enriched by photos, excerpts and anecdotes.

7. «Sleeping In the Forest» by Sait Faik

Delightful short stories by the Turkish Chekhov. Sait Faik (1906-1954) knows how to attract the reader´s utmost attention.

8. «Night» by Bilge Karasu

A small masterpiece. Karasu (1930-1995) and his four characters are duelling in this eloquent novella. A profound exploration of human inner worlds. Consider the first two lines "Night slowly comes on. Descends. Already it has begun filling the hollows. Once these are full and it empties onto the plain, everything will turn gray."

9. «A Mind at Peace» by Ahmet H Tanpınar

Pamuk described this elegiac masterpiece, first published in 1949, as "the greatest novel ever written about Istanbul". It is also a challenging love story between a fragile aesthete and a complex woman. For those who are not ambitious enough, will love always be punitive?

10. «Beyond the Walls, Selected Poems» by Nazım Hikmet

Influenced by Vladimir Mayakovsky and Russian Futurism, these are elegant poems of enduring significance.

Source (newspaper´s article): click here.

Edited (9/12/2013) by Aisha_Bilqis

Abla liked this message
2.       MarioninTurkey
6124 posts
 12 Sep 2013 Thu 04:13 pm

Agree with all of these, especially Nazim Hikmet.


If you want to read some Selçuk altun: if you like mysteries I suggest Sultan of Byzantium. If you like family novels, explaining over-dependent relationship between Turkish guys and their mothers try Songs My Mother Never Taught Me.


The real shame is that Yaşar Kemal is no longer in print in english. You have to get a second hand copy. Tragic!

Aisha_Bilqis and elenagabriela liked this message
3.       Aisha_Bilqis
23 posts
 12 Sep 2013 Thu 08:35 pm

Thank you "Marionin Turkey" for your feedback. I´ll note your suggestions in my notebook though I was hoping that some day on the long run, I would be able to read all those 10 books in Turkish.

In matter of fact, this list wich I spotted a month ago, works for me as an incentive and now the incentive became even more acute with your suggestions. No doubt for those who achieve proficiency in Turkish or in any foreign language, there are masterpieces to discover in that language. Thanks again ^_^


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