Translated from by

Published: November 15, 2022


ISBN: 9781953861382
This item will be released on November 15, 2022.


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Book Description

As the sun presses down on Adana, köftes and cups of cloudy raki are passed to the guests of a dinner party in the home of Ali – a former laborer who gives tight bear hugs and radiates the spirit of a child. Among the guests are a journalist named Oya, who has recently been released from prison and is living in exile on charges of leftist sympathizing, and her new acquaintance, Mustafa. Together they sit among calico cushions, debate communism and socialism, words rumbling around the room “like hot peppers.” A swift kick knocks down the front door and bumbling policemen converge on the guests, carting them off to holding cells, where they’ll be interrogated and tortured throughout the night. 

Fear spools into the private shells of their minds, into the tip of a pen being forced into confession, into claustrophobic thoughts of a return to prison, just after tasting freedom. Bristling snatches of Oya’s time in prison rush back – the wild curses and laughter of inmates, their vicious quarrels and rapturous belly-dancing in the courtyard. Her former inmates created fury and joy out of nothing. Their cloistered yet brimming resilience wills Oya to fight through the night and is fused with every word of this blazing, lucid novel.  

With a clarity and courage rooted in her own experiences as a political prisoner, Sevgi Soysal unflinchingly exposed the suffering and defiance of women in 1970s Turkey, and more broadly the conflicts inherent in personal and political loyalties which continue to resound in our time. A brutal but ultimately rewarding novel, and a timely and typically sensitive translation by Maureen Freely.
Alev Scott, author of Ottoman Odyssey

With the unflinching eye of a journalist and the sensitivities of a novelist, Soysal reveals one night of horror threaded with moments of possibility and human connection. Maureen Freely’s translation brings Soysal’s riveting words to a wider audience, one courageous woman’s story, a necessary story for our whole fragile world.
Patty Dann, author of Mermaids and The Wright Sister


Sevgi Soysal's unique voice continues to echo today, long after her passing. In the antagonistic environment of the 1970s, when the country was divided between leftists and rightists, Soysal questioned, in clever, flowing prose, patriarchal precedents on all sides . . . She was the writer of women dangling on the threshold—between sanity and insanity, society and the individual, setting the table and walking away, endless self-sacrifice and impromptu selfishness. . . . She created female characters who straddled the divide between living for others and following their hearts.
Elif Shafak, from her memoir, Black Milk