The Idle Years

The Idle Years


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Orhan Kemal is one of Turkey's best-loved writers, with a standing equal to Charles Dickens in England. These are the first two semi-autobiographical novels in a series, set in the 1920s and 1930s when Turkey was undergoing major social change. The unnamed narrator grows up in an affluent household in an Adana village with his brother, two sisters, mother, and formidable father, a known political agitator, but the family are forced to migrate to Beirut on account of his activities. The boy develops into a rebellious and feckless teenager, reluctantly attempting to support his now impoverished family through menial work while resenting his father's stern attempts to control him. Eventually lack of money provokes him and his best friend to set off for Istanbul to look for work. Before long he has developed into an alienated and self-conscious adolescent, preoccupied by his scrawny appearance, ragged clothes and lack of prospects— and he soon has to make a humiliating return. The fact that his father is well born but notorious does not help him make his way in the world and things begin to look up only when he falls for a pretty young factory girl. The most famous of Kemal's writings in Turkey, this is the first time that it has been published in English and it features a foreword by 2006 Nobel Prize winner, Orhan Pamuk.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780720613100
Publisher: Owen, Peter Limited
Publication date: 02/17/2009
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Orhan Kemal was born in Adana. His father worked in law and was active in politics, but Kemal dabbled in menial jobs before military service. His imprisonment due to his outspoken political views proved a turning point and from 1951 he made his living entirely by writing—often with radical, anti-authoritarian content. An institution in his homeland (though barely tolerated by successive governments), Kemal's untimely death in 1970 was an occasion for national mourning.

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