Coming together in İstanbul

Istanbullians Istanbullians

by Buket Uzuner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short (125 pages) graphic novel (adapted and translated into English from Uzuner's Turkish-language novel İstanbullular) illustrates contemporary Istanbul and its mingling of extremely diverse people. An attractive 40-something genetics professor and diplomat's daughter is returning with trepidation to her home city after years of working abroad, when she is trapped in Atatürk Airport in an emergency blackout along with İstanbullular (Istanbullian) of all backgrounds, including her Kurdish artist lover, a Turkish Greek professor, various Armenians, a Jew, a weary bathroom attendant, a wealthy entrepreneur, at least one fierce Turk and anti-Kurd nationalist, a headscarf-bearing young Muslim woman, a gay bartender, etc. Though their stories are never fully resolved, we know that this crisis will have changed all their lives in some way. Buket Uzuner is author of several other novels, of which this is the first graphic one. Illustrations of social types and places by Ayşe Nur Atsoy are realistic and vivid. The book is a charming and informative introduction to the complexity of this enormous (nearly 14 million population) city and tempts this reader to seek other works by Buket Uzuner.

For more on and by this author, see her website Buket Uzuner.

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