Starting with the basic question "what is this place?", award-winning journalist and novelist Ece Temelkuran guides us through her "beloved country". In challenging the authoritarian AKP government - for which she lost her job as a journalist - Temelkuran draws strength and wisdom from people, places and artistic expression.
The result is a beautifully rendered account of the struggles, hopes and tragedies which make Turkey what it is today. Lamenting the commercialisation and authoritarianism which increasingly characterises Turkish society, Temelkuran sees hope in the Gezi Park protests of 2013, the electoral breakthrough of the progressive HDP party in 2015 and in the simple kindness of ordinary people.
Much more than either straightforward history or memoir, Turkey: the Insane the Melancholy is like sitting with a friendly stranger who, over raki or coffee, reveals the secrets of this rich and complex country - the historic "bridge" between east and west.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 222 x 140 x 140 mm
'A passionate nonfiction work...for readers with a particular interest in Turkish politics, or a more general curiosity about polarized democratic societies with authoritarian patriarchal rulers.'
'Books We Loved in 2016', The New Yorker
'A vivid portrait of a nation in turmoil...a book that should be on the reading list of everyone who is sincerely interested in this troubled country.'
Elif Safak, The Spectator
'Temelkuran has written a primer for today's chaos, a masterclass in expecting the unexpected. A coup attempt in 2016 seems less surprising when viewed against the four coups of the last six decades, all of which Temelkuran weaves into her mosaic of political history.'
'Temelkuran's book does a masterful job of capturing the mood of the country...Temelkuran shines in describing the ways that Erdogan has exploited and exacerbated the country's polarization...the piece de resistance is her portrait of the Gezi Park protests of 2013.'
'A profoundly unconventional piece of political commentary... a courageous reminder of the role creativity and the arts have to play in the collective memory of political events.'
'At times playful, but more often polemical...Temelkuran seethes on the front line of Turkey's culture war.'
'Astute...a representative example of what an intelligent observer in Turkey thinks and feels about the past fifteen years.'
Times Literary Supplement
'Temelkuran excels at understanding how emotional narrative plays into politics.'
The Culture Trip
'Through passionate and poetic prose, Temelkuran holds a mirror to Turkey.'
'A no-holds-barred insight into the psyche of a people.'
'Combining personal reflection, popular culture and smaller vignettes...an insightful and informative study of modern Turkey.'
Asian Review of Books
'A wonderful book that gives a fascinating if frightening insight into the reasons why Turkey is becoming an authoritarian state. It gives an engrossing and intimate sense of the impact this development has on every aspect of life.'
Patrick Cockburn, author of The Rise of Islamic State
'Ece Temelkuran is a patriot - no other word will do - who, with this book, has become one with those who have stood up throughout history to despotic and criminal leaders.'
Seymour Hersh, author of The Killing of Osama Bin Laden
'Ece Temelkuran stares modern Turkey squarely in the eye to give a clear-sighted view of the crisis gripping the country. Temelkuran's writing delights in using the riches of language and the power of the image to create vivid insights into Turkey's turbulent past and present.'
Jodie Ginsberg, Index on Censorship
'What a brave woman! And what a fine, stylish and intelligent writer! Mixing sarcasm, anger, wit, and irony as well as hard facts, Ece Temelkuran has provided us with an informative and moving account of Turkey's seemingly inexorable drift into authoritarianism.'
Donald Sassoon, author of The Culture of the Europeans
'Part guide, part confidante, Ece Temelkuran brilliantly captures the neurosis at the heart of her country. An important book for anyone who wants to understand modern Turkey.'
Padraig Reidy, editor, Little Atoms
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