Kılıç Yarası Gibi

”All of those old and forgotten things; a cut crystal inkstand, yellowed paper covered with Arabic script that writhed like a dying animal, a leather armchair that was cracked here and there, a classical lute with a broken string, propped against the wall, a walnut table with missing drawers, fruits, made of soap, their dye flaking, sitting in a cracked porcelain bowl, a tin globe, dented on one side, its thin iron axis rusted, a silver sword and an ivory walking-stick hanging side by side on the wall, old magazines piled in a corner of the room, Morocco-bound books; all of it, the whole room, the whole house, perhaps even the whole city, was covered in dust; a thin layer of dust spread over everything, penetrated everything, wormed into things and killed them.

He remembered all of the things he had been told, he fixed them all in his memory one by one without omitting any of them; each one told a different story: Some said the cut crystal inkstand had been presented at Sheikh Efendi’s circumcision, and others that it had been a wedding present for Ragıp Pasha; according to some, the ivory walking-stick on the wall had belonged to Reşit Pasha, and according to others, Hikmet Bey had bought it at a second-hand store in Salonika. The history of this city, of this house, of this room, of these things, has been altered by each narrator, each time it has come to possess a different story, a different season, a different age, and each time it has lost its history and sunk further into oblivion.

He remembered everything, but wasn’t quite sure when he’d begun conversing with the dead; had he begun conversing with them after he’d come to this house or had the dead he conversed with brought him to this house; time’s crystal sphere had cracked at some unspecified moment, causing the dead outside the sphere and the living within it to mingle together. At first the crack was like a thin line, and as it widened, moving of its own accord and spreading out to break the whole sphere to pieces, Osman set out on his portentous journey during which death and life, sanity and insanity merged together, and that would continue until the sphere broke to pieces completely and vanished.”

This excerpt from Kılıç Yarası Gibi was translated by Brendan Freely and Yelda Türedi. The English edition of the novel has not been published yet.