The 7 Best Excerpts From Everyone’s Favorite Turkish Author

The 7 Best Excerpts From Everyone’s Favorite Turkish Author

Sait Faik Abasıyanık, one of the best Turkish writers of short stories, and lover of the Marmara sea. He spent much of his time on Burgazada, one of the Princes’ Islands in the Marmara, off the coast of Istanbul. Burgaz, a favorite of mine as well, is a petite haven from the chaos of Istanbul, as motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island. Unfortunately, because of weak zoning restrictions, the view of Istanbul, from its pebbled shores has changed over the years; becoming a hazy looking clump of pink hued concrete with towering housing complexes jutting out unnaturally, like dead trees. In his day, the  hills must have been lush, and stunning.

These are some great excerpts retrieved from my copy of A Useless Man:

My Father’s Second House
“The old woman was half asleep on the cushions. I was lying next to her. My hand was in hers. Sleep passed through her hand into mine like a yellow sickness, closing my eyes. I could feel her submission and her suffering.”
“For a very long time, I was able to preserve that moment. Then the paper yellowed like a picture postcard, and the image faded.”
The Silk Handkerchief
“In those days I slept in the storeroom on the floor above the workshop. How beautiful that room was. And never more so than on moonlit nights. Just outside my window was a mulberry tree. Moonlight would come cascading down through its leaves, throwing flecks of light across the floor.”
Wedding Night
“He was chewing on something, but where they questions, or were they chestnuts?”
The Barges
“They whiled away the night watching the lights of Uskudar, and the great ships of Galata, the smaller vessels tied to the piers, and the motor launches pulling barges that were sometimes empty, sometimes full. They knew from these evenings that they could count on one another; just by exchanging four or five sentences, they knew they were good friends.”
On Spoon Island
“It was as if he had thrown off the warm and open face that had once held me captive and discarded it like an old shirt.”
A Useless Man
“If nothing else, a neighborhood is still a neighborhood. My shop could burn down, and I could go hungry. But somehow I have confidence that the man who sells me tripe soup with lots of lemon every afternoon will serve me until I die.”

The writing is meaningful and subtle. The character Papaz Efendi for instance, a local priest and  philosopher with a complete lack of pretense, is not living under some misguided assumption of how the world is. He is clear about what his role means to others, but doesn’t sacrifice personality or his own human needs in the process.



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