Asli Erdogan, translated by Amy Spangler
170 pages (November 2007); 5.7MB download
Soft Skull Press; ISBN: 1-933368-74-8
A young woman on fire in Rio de Janeiro on the last day of her life -- a remarkable novel from a writer named by Lire one of the top 50 writers to watch out for in the 21st century.
"Asli Erdogan is an exceptionally sensitive and perceptive writer who gives us perfect literary texts." Orhan Pamuk
"The description in Asli Erdogan's novel is breathtaking. The work is so much like its setting. Deep. Complicated. Raw. Difficult. Musical. I never wanted to leave a scene yet I couldn't wait for the next. This is a truly fine book." Percival Everett
"[V]ividly captures the life and sin of underclass Rio de Janeiro in this darkly atmospheric novel's battle to hold on to her own reality makes for a stark, nightmarish journey." Publishers Weekly
Ozgur, having deserted her past and secluded herself from the outer world, is poor, hungry, and on the verge of a mental breakdown. She has a single weapon left in the all-out war she has declared against Rio de Janerio: to write the city, which has trapped her and robbed her of everything. As we read the bits and pieces of Ozgur's unfinished novel, The City in Crimson Cloak, with its autobiographical protagonist named, for the time being, only as O, we begin to put together the fragments of Ozgur's story. Meanwhile, the narrator tells us of a single day of Ozgur's life which is, in fact, her last.
As Ozgur follows in the footsteps of O, through the shanty towns, Condomble rituals, and the violence and sexuality of the streets to her own death, the narrator searches for a way to make peace with life, a route to catharsis. As we delve deeper into the two concentric novels, the borderline between the two Rio's -- Ozgur's Rio as a metaphor for death and Rio as life -- starts to blur, and as Ozgur catches up with her heroine, the two opponents, Rio and Ozgur, bleed into one another...
"In language both limpid and lyrical, Asli Erdogan perfectly delineates the distance between [the protagonist] and the foreign city's the Brazilian street which rules this novel with the romantic savagery of the favela and the bandit, its love of life, its roughness, its disgust. Le Monde, France
"An unforgettable tale of mass-scale delirium, chaos, and death." Yeni Y'zyl, Turkey
"Turkish Pepper, Brazilian Heat: [B]eyond a doubt the best I have reviewed this autumn. Overwhelming... In the same way that Dublin and Joyce belong together, or Praha and Kafka, for me from now on Rio will be inextricably bound together with the name Asli Erdogan. With this volume she writes herself into the dominant tradition of the last century's novels: the novel of the city." Aftenposten, Norway
"ScaryscenaRIO: The quality of the novel shows itself in full bloom when Ozgur's story is integrated in the story of the town Rio, a relationship that derives the fact that Ozgur is also in a physical sense taken up by the life threatening, rolling metabolism of the town..." Morgenbladet, Norway
"Asli Erdogan's hands touch the human heart. Some of her sentences are verses of poetry...saturated with the bitter juice of life. Read this novel slowly, take your time, otherwise, you will be overwhelmed by the crossfire of images and metaphors." Cumhuriyet Book Review, Turkey