If like me, you cannot read Turkish, you, most probably would not be able to read this announcement by Milliyet, or, naturally, this one by Radikal Kitap. Fortunately for us, there is already some information in English available from the English language Today’s Zaman. The novel, whose Turkish title is Kafamda bir Tuhaflik, is due on December 9, and this is what they have to say about it:
The 480-page book follows the love story between a street vendor named Mevlut and his girlfriend, as well as Mevlut’s life in the streets of İstanbul throughout a period that spans over four decades, from 1969 to 2012, during which he works in a range of different jobs. Throughout these decades, Mevlut witnesses the various transformations the city, the people and Turkey in general undergo. All the while, Mevlut often wonders what the source of this “strangeness” in his head is — a strangeness that makes him different from all the “others”
The English title suggested by Pamuk himself in several interviews is A Strangeness in My Mind. According to the author, it should be available in English in 2015, which means that the translation should be already under way. I personally quite liked the weird atmosphere of his The Black Book, which I heartily recommend. Judging by the works discussed on this blog, you would probably guess that for me the stranger, the better, and I do hope that Pamuk’s new novel, which he spent six years writing, will not disappoint me in this respect.
Update 1. The English translation is already available for pre-order. The translator is Ekin Oklap.
Update 2. Here is the official description of the book:
Mevlut has spent his whole life selling a local alcoholic drink on the streets of Istanbul. It is the 1990s, and although there were once thousands of boza vendors, Mevlut now cuts a lonely figure on snowy winter nights. Falling deeply into debt, and desperate to marry off his incompetent son and satisfy his mistress, Mevlut turns to his old friend Ferhat, who collects payments on electric bills. The partners traverse the backstreets of middle-class neighborhoods and shantytowns, venture into flats, shops, restaurants of the poor, relishing their power to punish cheaters and collect bribes. But when the dangers of Istanbul’s underbelly catch up with Mevlut, he finds himself beaten and threatened at every turn. Istanbul is exposed as a city with a rich and dynamic underground culture that seeps into its secular business centers and mainstream society. Mevlut serves as a flighty guide, occasionally attuned to the city’s nuances, but with a wild imagination and instincts tainted by desperation.