The Wounded Age and Eastern Tales (Paperback)
One of Turkey's most celebrated writers explores themes of violence, otherness, and exile through a thrilling hybrid of poetry and prose that paints a vivid picture of Turkey's conflict-torn lands.
In the two books paired here, translated into English for the first time, the great Turkish writer Ferit Edgü represents complex social and political realities with startling lyricism. The Wounded Age features a newspaper reporter from Istanbul, assigned to write about ethno-national violence in the mountains of eastern Turkey. Like the narrators in Eastern Tales, he is a stranger in a region where a buried history—the state’s violence against Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians—continues uninterrupted with the subjugation of the Kurds. Language in this place, especially the language of outsiders, cannot be trusted. In the story “Interview,” an old villager tells the narrator, “Make our photograph,” and adds, “Send us the pictures. No need to write us letters.” The minimal tales Edgü tells are vivid pictures of life in the East—a house in ruins, an empty crib, wolves howling in the hills—and transcriptions of living voices. The reporter in The Wounded Age has no illusions that his story will stop the bloodletting; instead, he goes east because he knows he must open his eyes and unstop his ears.
About the Author
Ferit Edgü is a Turkish writer of poems, novels, and essays. He has been awarded both the prestigious Sait Faik Literature Prize and the Sedat Simavi Prize for Literature.
Aron Aji is a Turkish translator and the President of The American Literary Translators Association. He has translated works by Bilge Karasu, Murathan Mungan, Elif Shafak, and other Turkish writers. He is the Director of MFA in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa.
“With The Wounded Age and Eastern Tales, we get his most impassioned plea for understanding Turkey’s wounded east. . . . This is what makes Edgü’s writing so exciting: his focus on the pendulum between comfort and danger, boredom and beauty; his attempts to unfurl the desire to be in a place that puts one’s life in danger.” —Kaya Genç, The Nation
“The Wounded Age and Eastern Tales achieves the bone-dry austerity that Edgü advocated. Aji’s translation captures this terseness in aphoristic, staccato sentences. On the page, the words are free to breathe, surrounded by empty space.” —William Armstrong, TLS
“A powerful tale.” —Paul Burke, European Literature Network
“In Edgü, one gets the sense that here—or rather, 'there'—history itself doesn’t even exist.” —Ralph Hubbell, Words Without Borders
“Edgü sketches the austere beauty and stark violence of Turkey’s mountainous east and its borderlands in this spare and poignant collection…. In brief, melancholy views of the bleak landscape, Edgü cuts to the heart of the matter, evoking powerful emotions with few words. This will transport readers.” —Publishers Weekly
“A stark and ferocious love letter to a forgotten people, in a gorgeous translation that is utterly true to the wounded dreamscapes of the original. To read these pages is to be there, swept by mountain snows and the cruel winds of politics, undone by harsh beauty and the endless tragedy unfolding.” —Maureen Freely
“Ferit Edgü re-creates the yearning, severity, and timeless cycles of the Eastern Turkish landscape with intense lyricism and masterful sparsity. His unique voice has long been a force in Turkish literature and is translated by Aron Aji with the same haunting vigor.” —Ayşegül Savas