Monday, August 24, 2009

A novel from Turkey that won't leave me cold

Here's a bit from the second chapter of Selçuk Altun's Songs My Mother Never Taught Me:

"Today your humble servant Bedirhan Öztürk is thirty-seven years old! Instead of buying myself a birthday present I've come to a crucial decision. God willing, I'm going to break away from the business I've undertaken so patiently for the last twelve years.

"Please don't let the fact that I'm a hired killer alarm you. ...

"But retirement will come to pass, by the grace of God! Listening reverently to the evening ezan and eating my blessed pomegranate, I'll say my prayers and go to sleep, if you'll allow me. I'm sure that you've already begun to realize that your humble servant is no ordinary gun-toting operator."
I think I'll enjoy this novel's amiable tone. As a bonus, my alma mater gets a prominent mention in the third chapter.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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4 Comments:

Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

A good beginning. I, too, am tempted by it. Can someone who speaks so politely and reverently be a hired killer? We'll see.

August 24, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It transpires that he has taken an unusual path to his calling, as has his fellow narrator. I may have more to say on this book.

August 24, 2009  
Blogger seana said...

Yes, that's a great opening. And of course, there would have to be extenuating circumstances...

August 24, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's one of several fine openings in the novel. The chapters alternate between two narrators, each telling his own story, and the stories draw gradually together. All sorts of social and family and metaphysical issues pile up, but that genial tone predominates even the subject is not always pleasant.

It's a pleasure listening to these people talk, reading what they have to say.

August 24, 2009  

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