Luke Frostick writes: Few maps are more powerful for some and controversial for others than the map of greater Kurdistan. In her new book Mapping Kurdistan: Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism, Zeynep Kaya demonstrates how the map of Kurdistan was developed and how it became a symbol and a tool.
Luke Frostick writes: Ayfer Tunç’s newly translated book The Highly Unreliable History of A Madhouse is a novel that is humorous, tragic, profound, epic in scale as well as intimate. However, it is not an easy read. Still, working my way through it was rewarding for its humor and the diverse cross-section of Turkish society that it captures.
Luke Frostick writes: Edanur Kuntman’s Tales from Behind the Window has been nominated for an Eisner Award. If she wins, she will be the first Turk to win an Eisner. The story is a piece of creative-nonfiction and its main narrative is drawn from the memories of Kuntman’s grandmother growing up in the Çarşamba district of Samsun.
Luke Frostick writes: While I was reading The Struggle for Modern Turkey, the word I keep coming back to to describe Sabiha Sertel was badass. Throughout her life she showed a real commitment towards her ideals and an unwillingness to compromise that would see her tried numerous times, nearly lynched, imprisoned and eventually forced to flee.
Luke Frostick writes: In her new book Precarious Hope, Ayşe Parla focuses on the experience of Bulgarian Turks. They are the only undocumented group in Turkey that gets regular amnesties. A sense of privilege they feel compared to other economic migrants is identified in Parla's book. However, they are still vulnerable to exploitation by the state.
Luke Frostick writes: Using the innocence of animals to show the absurdity and cruelty of human society is nothing new in literature. However, Kemal Varol proves that it is still a powerful device in his newly translated book Wûf, a story of the 1990s conflict in southeastern Turkey.
Luke Frostick writes: The origin story of the Republic of Turkey is well known. Out of the battered husk of the Ottoman Empire, the brilliant general Mustafa Kemal forges a new Turkish nation with republican, secular and modernist ideas at its core. Ryan Gingeras' new book Eternal Dawn tells a more confusing, murky and interesting version of this history.
Luke Frostick writes: Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu is one of Turkey’s great early novelists. He witnessed the end of the Ottoman Empire, the formation of the Republic of Turkey and played an active role in those turbulent times as a journalist and politician in addition to his literary career. Now available in English, his book Stepmother Earth is a masterful depiction of those eras.
Luke Frostick writes: 2048 by Emre Sayer bills itself as a futuristic novel that connects business, love, culture, technology and society into one cohesive whole. Yet it falls flat in numerous ways. A critique of this novel must start with the translation. It’s bad, really bad.
Luke Frostick writes: As secretary to the sultan, Uşaklıgil had a ringside seat to many of the political machinations and crises of the day. In this collection of writings, Uşaklıgil is more interested in the daily business of the palace and the people he meets there. Special credit should be given to the translator Douglas Scott Brookes. Translating such an important writer as Halid Ziya Uşaklıgil is a hard job at the best of times and doing it from Ottoman Turkish more so.
Luke Frostick writes: İşigüzel's "The Girl in the Tree" recounts the story of young woman who, in a moment of crisis and personal tragedy, flees from Cihangir to Gülhane Park, and spends the rest of her life atop trees. From her perch, she tells us her story and that of three generations of women living in Cihangir.
Luke Frostick writes: Erdoğan Rising takes us through all the critical moments of Turkey's recent history, from the Gezi Park protests to the coup attempt and the 2018 election. Smith caters to readers that aren't experts on Turkey but provides enough detail to capture those readers that are invested in the country.
Luke Frostick writes: Turkey's foreign policy is in a muddle. Turkey's relationship with its NATO allies is strained to the point of crumbling. It has failed to build new alliances in the Middle East, quite the opposite in fact, and has shown its vulnerability to Iran and Russia, its traditional regional rivals. In his new book Erdoğan’s Empire, Soner Çağaptay breaks down the geopolitics of the AKP era in forensic detail.
Luke Frostick writes: Burhan Sönmez has been quietly building up a reputation for writing really good novels and his latest offering, Labyrinth, further cements that he is one of the most interesting writers working today. The story follows Boratin, a young jazz musician who has lost his memory after a failed suicide attempt from the Bosphorus Bridge.
Luke Frostick writes: In April 1957 US Ambassador Fletcher Warren burst into Prime minister Menderes’s cabinet meeting to try and prevent him from taking military action in Syria. Menderes had to make a hard choice. This is one of the more dramatic moments in Egemen Bezci’s new book Turkish Intelligence and the Cold War: The Turkish Secret Service, the US and the UK.