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Istanbul, Istanbul
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Winner of the EBRD Literature Prize 2018. Istanbul is a city of a million cells, and every cell is an Istanbul unto itself.After a military coup, four prisoners - the doctor, Demirtay the student, Kamo the barber and Uncle Kuheylan - sit below the ancient streets of Istanbul awaiting their turn at the hands of their wardens. Between violent interrogations, the condemned share parables and riddles about their beloved city to pass the time. From their retelling of stories, both real and imagined, emerges a picture of a city that is many things to many different people. Their fears and laughter show us that there is as much hope and suffering in the city above as there is in the cells below. Istanbul, Istanbul is a poignant and uplifting novel about the power of human imagination in the face of adversity.
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About the Author

Born in Central Anatolia in 1965, Burhan Sonmez grew up speaking Turkish and Kurdish. He worked as a lawyer in Istanbul, and was a founder of the social-activist cultural organisation TAKSAV (Foundation for Social Research, Culture and Art). He also wrote on literature, culture and politics for various newspapers and magazines. Burhan was seriously injured following an assault by Turkish police and lived in exile for some years. He now lectures at the METU University in Ankara. The recipient of a number of literary prizes, his novels have been published in over twenty countries. www.burhansonmez.com

Reviews

'Destined to become a classic' Reader's Digest; 'A profoundly moving story about the transformative power of words in times of desperation' Ece Temelkuran, author of The Insane and the Melancholy; 'A harrowing, riveting novel, as unforgettable as it is inescapable.' Dale Peck, author of Visions and Revisions; 'A wrenching love poem to Istanbul told between torture sessions by four prisoners in their cell beneath the city. An ode to pain in which Dostoevsky meets The Decameron.' John Ralston Saul, author of On Equilibrium; former president, PEN International; 'Ten days, ten stories and ten chapters, like Boccaccio's Decameron ... This novel will, I predict, itself become a classic.' Rosie Goldsmith; `With his parable-like novel, Soenmez strides across the entire spectrum of inhumane suffering and human powers of resistance. ... This is a uniquely intense and shocking novel of a kind seldom found on the contemporary publishing landscape. Scintillating, relentless and with a humanity that will resonate for a long time to come.' Qantara; 'Sonmez has created in Istanbul Istanbul a measured classic,' The Wire

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