Istanbul Istanbul by Burhan Sönmez

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



"Istanbul is a city of a million cells, and every cell is an Istanbul unto itself." Below the ancient streets of Istanbul, four prisoners-Demirtay the student, the doctor, Kamo the barber, and Uncle Küheylan-sit, awaiting their turn at the hands of their wardens. When they are not subject to unimaginable violence, the condemned tell one another stories about the city, shaded with love and humor, to pass the time. Quiet laughter is the prisoners' balm, delivered through parables and riddles. Gradually, the underground narrative turns into a narrative of the above-ground. Initially centered around people, the book comes to focus on the city itself. And we discover there is as much suffering and hope in the Istanbul above ground as there is in the cells underground. Despite its apparently bleak setting, this is a novel about creation, compassion, and the ultimate triumph of the imagination. "Istanbul, Istanbul turns on the tension between the confines of a prison cell and the vastness of the imagination; between the vulnerable borders of the body and the unassailable depths of the mind. This is 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

About Burhan Sönmez

See more books from this Author
Born in Central Anatolia in 1965, Burhan Sönmezgrew up speaking Kurdish and Turkish, and later moved to Istanbul where he studied law. The recipient of a number of literary prizes, he was seriously injured following an assault by Turkish police. With the assistance of the Freedom from Torture foundation, he spent five years in the U.K. undergoing rehabilitation. He now divides his time between Istanbul and Cambridge.
Published April 28, 2016 by OR Books. 214 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Istanbul Istanbul

Four men inhabit a dank cell in Istanbul: the Doctor; the student Demirtay; troublesome Kamo the Barber; and Uncle Küheylan, an older man from the mountains who has always dreamed deliriously of coming to Istanbul. As they wait tensely for guards to drag out one of them for the next round of tort...

Jun 15 2016 | Read Full Review of Istanbul Istanbul