Reading Novel

There was a rush in our house in a gloomy evening at dusk. That rush was because of my mother's considering everything to be perfect while she was getting ready for visiting our family friends while beginning a journey. While a journey was flying like a buttferfly for my father, it was needing to review the kids, the house, our cows, the vineyards and orchards, all properties for my mother. My mother was as if she was unable to go on the journey if my father wasn't hurrying up with starting the car.

Everytime my mother goes to anywhere and doesn't take us, the kids, I feel myself as if I am deserted. I remember I was looking behind them from my grandmother's room.

The persons which I had mentioned as family friends were in fact family friends of my grandfather. One of them was living in Turuncova, the other was in Isparta and my father and my aunts were trying to continue the relation with them.

When my mother and father arrived to Turuncova a night time, they wonder the girl of the house when they couldn't see her and asked “Where is she?”. To their surprise there was a boredom in the house. One day, the family saw that their daughter was reading a novel and they became very angry and raged. They started to think “Absolutely she has a secret relation if she is reading a novel” and they had forbidden her to go out from the house and had locked her in a room. My mother was sympathizing to the persons in that situation, probably because she was suffering from being not able to get education too. Whatever they talked,my mother had entered into to the room and had tried to understand her problem, probably she was very affected.

My mother returned to home with gloom from the journey which she had begun for having a change, a hope and she told this story to us. The story of that girl whose name didn't remaine in my mind is sticked in my mind.

When I had completed the primary school, most of my friends completing the primary school were not able to be sent to the secondary school by their parents. Being registered in the secondary school was like a privilege for me and I never like privileges, going to the school from our neigbourhood solitary was like a burden for me. Fortunately, my big brother was going to the secondary school too, we would fraternise. Somehow, my father would take us to the school with his car in rainy days, so I was preparing myself to the school.

The building of Demre Secondary School was newly-built, we studied on grasses for a time, then we didn't study on grasses after the classroom desks were bought and the classes were prepared. Demre was a banishment place for the teachers at that time. Most of them were leftist, they installed little libraries in our classes with their enlightened standing. The first book I read was 'Kuyucaklı Yusuf'¹ novel of Sabahattin Ali. It is possible to say that this novel was the book which took me into the world of the books and put reading love into me.

As I have written many times before, the library which I had met at my Lycee life had encouraged me more in reading issue. I had found opportunity to read the Russian and French classics in the house of the elder sister Yurda. I had also read the English classics in the library of the older brother Erkan in whose house I was staying during the last year of the Lycee. Somehow, I remember “The Grapes of Wrath” of John Steinbeck from there.

While our friendship was continuing with Ahmet, my family was under more pressure than me. When someone was seeing me with Ahmet in the street, immediately he was sending message to Demre and was making my family upset and that bad situation was reflecting back to me.One day – I never forget- my big brother came to the house which I was staying in. He warned me after suppressing his love to me in his heart and said: “You think the life is like it is written in the novels, but the life is not like it is written in the books”. His words remained in my mind, but I don't remember whether I had given an answer to him or not.

Perhaps four-five years later my older brother made this conversation with me, we got married with Ahmet. Ahmet opened the doors of a world in which I could easily read books with him, that was a door openning to the world of the literature. When he presented me ‘Mrs. Dolaway’ of Virginia Woolf, I recognized that a novel could be written in a different way. The stories, novels, poems of Adalet Ağaoğlu, Peride Celal, Sevim Burak, Susan Sontag, A.S. Byatt, John Fowles, Truman Capote and many other authors became a part of our own universe.

Why we read novels, what are the sentences pulling us into them, what tell us the lives installed there, so we are not able to desist ourselves from reading. This is because the author in his fictional world, in fact, reveals us the right and wrong, the opressed people and the opressors, the richness and the poverty, the justice and the injustice, the class contradictions, the love and the lovelessness, and the insensitivity based on the observation of true stories and starting from this point. The world there is in fact not a factoid dream world, it puts exactly the core of the life in front of us.

The novels are like guides helping us exactly how to live the life, what kind of standing we have to choose against the events and situations. Reading a novel needs wending a time period too, it is a travel at the same time. Going on this journey is not a thing which everybody can afford, who knows, even presently, in a place which we don't know, a young girl is putting up what kind of a fight to read a novel or a book.

Imren Tuzun

Antalya, 19 September 2015

Translated by Serkan Engin

1--Kuyucaklı Yusuf, The novel of HYPERLINK ""Sabahattin Ali which had been published firstly in HYPERLINK ""1937 year. The novel which was the first work of the author is one of the most important novels of Turkish literature.