Author(s): Hasan Ali Toptas
Thirty years after completing his military service Ziya flees the spiralling turmoil of one of Turkey's great sprawling cities to seek a serene existence in a village of which he has long heard dreamlike tales. Having endured two years of gruelling military life, taking brutal orders from a man hiding behind his rank, and then losing his wife and child in a terrorist attack, Ziya has never quite been able to return to the life he once had until one day he breaks free. Arriving in the village, Ziya is greeted by his old friend from the army, Kenan, who has built and furnished a vineyard house for him. There he is welcomed by Kenan's family, but the village does not provide the total isolation Ziya yearns for and he is forced back through the tangled web of his memory to the time he and Kenan spent defending the treacherous Syrian/Turkish border in search of the reason why Kenan feels so extravagantly in his debt. Hasan Ali Toptas masterfully blurs the boundaries between dream and reality, truth and memory, past and present, to create a gripping and surprising tale that introduces a major writer to English-language readers for the first time.
Hasan Ali Toptas weaves a mysterious and masterful tale of love and friendship, guilt and secrets
Hasan Ali Toptas is one of Turkey's top writers. His short story collections include The Identity of a Laugh, The Whispers of the Nobodies and Solitudes. His novels have won the Cankaya Literature Prize, the Culture Ministry Prize, the Yunus Nadi Novel Prize, the Cevdet Kudret Literature Prize, the Orhan Kemal Novel Prize and the Turkish Writers' Union Great Novel Prize. His early masterpiece Shadowless (1995), also translated by Maureen Freely and John Angliss will be published by Bloomsbury in 2016. He now lives in Ankara. He has been translated into German, French and Finnish. Solitudes has been made into a play and Shadowless was made into a film in 1998. Maureen Freely is a novelist and journalist who contributes to the Guardian and the Independent. She translated Orhan Pamuk's recent novels from Turkish into English. She grew up in Turkey and now lives in England. John Angliss won the inaugural British Council's Young Translators' Prize for prose in 2012. He lives in Ankara.