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The Bridge of the Golden Horn

by Emine Sevgi Ozdamar

An unnamed Turkish teenager, fascinated by things European, relates this tale of many strands. Her tone remains detached and ironic – even when the subject matter becomes painful and personal. When she becomes a film cameraman, I realised that she was a perfect commentator: a view strengthened by her occasional use of the third person to describe her strongest emotions. Well worth the concentration required.

Extract

At drama school students talked about the Kipphardt visit for many days. A man from Europe. What he said was like sentences cast in concrete. A Turk who had studied in Europe got the top seat at a table, and everyone hung on his lips. If a couple of people were discussing something at a table and a European was present, one said to the other: 'Man even the European believes me, so how can you dare not to believe me, you blockhead?' Europe was a club with which we smashed each others' heads.
Translated by Martin Chalmers

Parallels

The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk
Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
 

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