‘Istanbul Istanbul: A Novel’ by Burhan Sönmez

As I read your piece, I was watching Simon Reeve on Turkey. Really quite informative but now FOUR years out of date. My strong impression is the quality of BBC TV coverage has considerably declined. Hence, important that you are covering this issue through literature!

Imogen is Reading and Watching the World: On Books, Film, Art & More

Translated by Ümit Hussein

Burhan Sönmez is a Kurdish novelist and lawyer from Turkey who is a winner of the equivalent there of the Booker Prize, and he is the recently elected President of PEN International. Notably, he was seriously injured after being assaulted by Turkish police in 1996, and received treatment in the UK, where he lived in exile for several years. He now lives and works in Istanbul and Ankara.

I read his novel Istanbul, Istanbul, published in English in 2016. The back cover of the book announces that “Istanbul is a city of a million cells, and every cell is an Istanbul unto itself”. The story focuses on four political prisoners in detention in a shared underground cell, where they are left to languish while waiting to be taken off for interrogation and torture. The prisoners come from different walks of life: Demirtay is a…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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