28 May 09 | Chad W. Post

The latest addition to our review section is a piece by Emily Shannon on Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar’s A Mind at Peace, which was translated from the Turkish by Erdag Göknar, published by Archipelago Books late last year, and most famously given as a gift to President Obama by Deniz Baykal, a member of the Turkish parliment.

Emily—a former intern at Open Letter—opens her review:

In his novel A Mind at Peace, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar asks if it’s possible for a culture that is tied so closely and intimately to its past to survive in a trying time of change. The novel begins in Istanbul the morning of the declaration of World War II and ends with the same announcement, framing the story while we learn about several characters whose lives are marked by events that test their existence and define what it is to be human. A Mind at Peace centers on the life of a man named Mümtaz whose life is surrounded by these characters in a deeply moving portrait as he grows from a child to a young man.

Tanpınar’s novel is set up in four parts, each titled as a character in the novel: İhsan, Nuran, Suad, Mümtaz. The sections of İhsan and Mümtaz act as end plates where the story takes place in the present, holding the past that Nuran and Suad represent.

Click here for the complete review.


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