Monday, February 16, 2009

Songs My Mother Never Taught Me-Selcuk Altun

Songs My Mother Never Taught Me
Selcuk Altun
Telegram, Apr 1 2009, $13.95
ISBN: 9781846590535

In 2003 in Istanbul, fifty three years old widow Dr. Ada Ergenekon dies from cancer. Her husband renowned mathematician Mursel had been murdered twelve years ago. Their twenty-seven years old only child Arda feels relief to no longer be under the thumb of his powerful mother; one week after her death he pronounces his freedom by ending his engagement to Jale, who was more acceptable by his late mom than him.

On his thirty-seventh birthday, Bedirhan Ozturk gives himself the ultimate present. He decides to retire from his vocation of twelve yeas as a hired killer. He is proud of his accomplishments of only taking out those who committed deadly crimes especially against his religion but managed to remain free due to the political cracks. Bedirhan feels strongly he can quit as he has not taken more than two hits a year.

Arda feels a need to track down his father’s unknown killer protected by the religious groups. Bedirhan feels a sense of urgency to track down his unknown handler protected by the religious groups. Their goals will collide.

Several fascinating twists starting with Arda meeting and gaining assistance from novelist Selcuk Altun turn what looks to be a revenge thriller into much more as the audience anticipates the confrontation, but is not sure where the collision will lead to. Rotating perspective between A for Arda and B for Bedirhan, fans learn of each lead character’s back-story with further references to literary and musical multicultural Turkey. With each chapter the reader feels increasingly a sense of a surrealistic tour of Istanbul inside a colliding universe that represents modern Turkey’s struggle to balance religion and secularism.

Harriet Klausner