Tuesday 15 January 2013

Young Turk

Finished January 15
Young Turk by Moris Farhi

This is a novel made up of thirteen connected stories, each story with a different narrator. The time period ranges from the 1940s to 1959, with not all stories clear on the exact time they take place. The age of the narrator also increases as the stories progress, with the first storyteller Rifat at nine years old as he begins his tale, and the last Ahmet an older man near the end of his life. Most of them are told by young Turks in their teens or early twenties. The stories are about their lives, happy and sad, political and personal, but all full of the experience of life. Most storytellers are male, but not all and women are portrayed as interesting people in their own right throughout. The Turks here are of various ethnicity and religion and one prevailing note is that we are all human, and the strongest Turkey consists of a diverse mix of Turks, a message that the leader Ataturk himself felt true. These stories have passion and an honesty of feeling that captures the reader.
I also learned some things about Turkish history that I didn't know. One example is how during the Christian battles in Spain, Turkey offered haven to all those who were oppressed, both Jews and Muslims. And again during the rise of Hitler, Turkey offered itself as a haven to Jews in Europe. Of course, I also learned of the racial issues within Turkey from the treatment of the Armenians to that of the Jews in 1943.
A very interesting read, with complex and interesting characters.


  1. I know so little about Turks,that this might be an interesting read for me too.

  2. I spent a month travelling in Turkey in my early twenties and loved it, but didn't learn a lot about the history.
    I'd love to go back and visit again.

  3. Sounds really interesting! I know next to nothing about Turkey, so would like to read this.

    Thanks for including your review on the European Reading Challenge page.

    Rose City Reader