2013/07/16

Bir Cihan İki Sultan — first reviews

I just discovered last night that the Turkish translation of my novel A Gift for the Sultan is now being offered on the websites of more than a dozen Turkish vendors, including this one:

Bir Cihan İki Sultan (Timur ve Yıldırım'ın Mücadelesi) - Işık Kitabevi

And more importantly, this big chain of culture and entertainment media: D&R

And best of all, the first reviews have appeared.

As far as I've been able to work out with my Turkish-English dictionary, the review at the kitaplarix.com site is pretty positive.  They seem surprised that a Westerner can be so objective — at least, I think that's what this says:
Harvard Üniversitesi'nde ders veren Fox, Yıldırım ve Timur'un ölümüne mücadelesini bir Batılıdan beklenmeyecek kadar başarılı ve objektif yazmıştır.
The Turkish in the brief comments on other websites is too colloquial for me to make out — I can't tell whether they love the book or think it's a menace.  But at least the comments show that people are aware of and reading it.

Readers of the English version have generally understood the novel to be a romance about a Byzantine princess and an Ottoman brigand; the Turks are presenting it as a political and military history of the clash between two giants of their history, Timur (or Tamerlane) and Bayezid I (Yıldırım Beyazıt). That's all fine (those stories indeed are part of the book), but I hope some readers in both languages will appreciate the broader story that frames the others: that of the struggle of a great city against an anti-urban force bent on destroying it.

In the end, as the book can only hint at in the last pages, the resolution will begin 51 years later with the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans (A.D. 1453). The city will not just survive, but by its many subtle resources will transform the Ottomans into a cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic urban power, reaching from their capital in Constantinople to govern a tri-continental complex of subject cities (Northern Africa, Western Asia and Eastern Europe). Now that was one very powerful city. And still is, under its new name of Istanbul.

P.S.: One of my Turkish friends has given me a more accurate translation of the quote above:
"Fox, who is a lecturer at Harvard University, has written about Yildirim and Timur's to-the-death struggle in such a successful of objective manner that is beyond what we can expect of a Westerner." Or, ".... that could not have been expected from a Westerner."
I'm not and never have been a lecturer at Harvard University, but I studied there, so it's a pardonable error which may sort of locate me intellectually for a Turkish reader.

3 comments:

Dirk van Nouhuys said...

Tebrikler!

Dirk van Nouhuys said...

Tebrikler!

gef said...

Teşekkür.