The View from Mount Uludağ
Erendiz Atasü, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, tr. Erendiz Atasü and Elizabeth Maslen (London: Milet Publishing Ltd., 2000) [translation of Dağın Öteki Yüzü (Istanbul: Remzi Kitabevi, 1996; Ankara: Bilgi Yayınevi, 1999).
There seems to be no limit to the Western fascination with Turkey: from the eighteenth-century travelogue of the Ottoman Empire by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu,1 down to the histories and travelogues of Freya Stark,2 to Western interest in native "village novels" by Mahmut Makal and others,3 to Rose Macaulay's exotic post-modernist travelogue novel, The Towers of Trebizon,4 set during the republican Turkey of the 1950s, to biography and history by Lord Kinross,5 to the latest popular histories by Nicole and Hugh Pope,6 and Stephen Kinzler,7 there has never been any lack of readers for historical, ethnographic, or fictionalized accounts of life and travel in what were formerly the realms of the Sultan. Now along comes Erendiz Atasü's quasi-fictional account of twentieth-century Turkey from the early days of the Turkish Republic almost to the present. Her novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, won Turkey's prestigious Orhan Kemal Prize for best novel in 1996 and is a fascinating interweaving of historical events, remembrances of family and friends over several generations, and fiction. Taken all together, I found the novel both informative and thoroughly enjoyable. Traditionally, such is to be expected from a fascinating subject and a predisposed audience. However, Atasü also gives us something more: an attempt at serious literature. The novel is laced with literary allusions and at times uses a self-reflexive modernist style to convey its subject matter. I will try to give an account of the novel's content, structure, and style, before trying to determine whether the literary characteristics of the work are an enhancement of or distraction from an enjoyable and informative story.
The Turkish title of the work, DAĞIN ÖTEKİ YÜZÜ [literally, "the mountain's other side or face"] is a throwback to Yaşar Kemal's first trilogy, DAĞIN ÖTE YÜZÜ8 Kemal's trilogy contrasts two ways of life: the poor but idyllic life in the villages of the Toros Mountains, and the living hell of the Çukurova Plain that must be endured to sustain the ideal life in the mountains.9 In Atasü's novel, the title refers to the climbing of Mount Uludağ (near "green Bursa" in northwest Anatolia) by two brothers and a sister on a hot day in July 1935 at the start of their careers. The "peak1 experience is a symbol of the idealism of the young Kemalists of the recently-created Republic of Turkey. The "other side" of the mountain in Kernel's trilogy is an existential realm of hellish conditions where human character is forged in the pursuit of dreams, which are shown to be more important to the human spirit than life itself: we witness ordinary individuals and even children, as they struggle toward their dreams, and we see the indomitable spirits of Meryemce and Old Halil, after a lifetime of such struggle, as they face the humiliations of old age and still try to affirm life in the face of certain defeat as they move toward death. The "other side of the mountain" in Atasü's novel is the realm of everyday life where the Kemalist characters, who are initially so idealistic in 1935, fight against disillusionment as they are faced with betrayal, aging, and death. However, in the case of Vicdan Hayreddin, who is the narrator's mother, we are also shown some of the indomitable human spirit that looms so large in Yaşar Kemal's Çukurova characters, as she keeps Atatürk's Kemalist ideals of the Turkish Republic alive in the face of a continuous series of betrayals in both her personal life and the life of the nation The similarity in the Kemal and Atasü titles is therefore significant: while Yaşar Kemal portrays an indestructible human spirit in an existential struggle for survival, Atasü portrays Atatürk's indomitable spirit in the service of the state, and Vicdan Hayreddin's equally indomitable preservation of that spirit in the face of personal and political betrayal.
The challenge of disillusionment as one matures and acquires knowledge and experience is probably a necessary part of human development. Atasü's story, like Kemal's, is based on specific historical, political, and ethnographic background that is ultimately transcended and rendered merely the occasion of much more important investigations of the human spirit. Atasü's novel, however, at times seems more limited in its exploration of the human spirit, even though its setting is the entire sweep of the twentieth century and ranges from Cambridge University in England, to Germany, the Balkans, Istanbul, İzmir, and to provincial Anatolian towns. Atasü is striving to preserve the Kemalist ideals of her mother's generation and to pass them along to her daughter's generation in the face of apathy and the corruption of those ideals by the frenzy of capitalist greed that has overtaken Turkey in the last quarter of the twentieth century. In her criticism of the political and economic ideology that has overwhelmed modern Turkey, and in her criticism of the military interventions that have regularly suppressed basic human rights during the past fifty years and more in Turkey, Atasü is again an inheritor of Yaşar Kemal. And in her persona's love of her mother, which allows her to gain some understanding of her mother's Kemalist values and life, and enables her to pass that understanding along to her daughter and the reader, Atasü seems to be following an aesthetic of love that at times crops up in Kemal, where it is perhaps derived from Alevi Muslim traditions. Does Atasü achieve Yaşar Kemal's stature in this her first novel? Probably not: while Kemal's Çukurova novels are for all time, Atasu's The Other Side of the Mountain seems to me to be a fine novel for the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Even so, her values and her ambitious scope are an impressive achievement. I will analyze the novel and then try to indicate where this impressive first novel falls short of permanent greatness.
The novel is divided into four or perhaps five sections, but actually has a tripartite structure. The first part of this tripartite structure is comprised of two sections with one brief chapter each. Chapter 1, entitled "The Last Decade of Innocence," is very brief (just over four pages) and bears the section heading, "Towards Freedom." The narrator, who is a writer and the author's persona, has grown up during the mid-twentieth century, become an academic, and experienced divorce and her own kind of disillusionment. In short, it is the beginning of a brief psychological autobiography in which disillusionment is seen as an opportunity for learning and striving for personal freedom. The second chapter, "The Wave," is slightly longer (about ten pages) and falls under the section heading of "Towards the Open Sea..., Memories and Illusions." It describes the narrator's first attempt to explore her mother's letters, journals, and photographs, and through a process of identification with her mother, she embarks on a self-exploration as her mother's daughter and as a woman. These two chapters, each with their own section headings, constitute the first part of the tripartite structure of the novel.
The second part of the tripartite structure is comprised of section three, entitled "Islands of the Past... Photographs and Letters of Bygone Days...," and is the main part of the novel (220 out of 283 pages). The nine chapters of this section describe the main characters of the novel, including the persona's mother, Vicdan Hayreddin, Vicdan's two brothers, Reha and Burhan Yurdakul, her half-brother Cumhur Özgecan, her husband Raik, her parents Fitnat Hanım and Colonel Hayreddin Bey, and finally Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, "the Gazi," who transformed the Ottoman defeat in World War I into the Turkish War for Independence and a stunning victory out of which came the modern Republic of Turkey, aligned with Western European ideals and laws, and serving as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East.
The third part of the tripartite structure is comprised of section four and a "Letter to the Reader." Section four, "On another Shore," consists of one chapter, "Journal for my Daughter," while the fifth section, if it can be classified as such, is simply titled "Letter to the Reader." In the original Turkish text, this "Letter" is placed at the beginning of the novel instead of at the conclusion. The "Letter to the Reader" is more effective, I believe, at the conclusion, where it extends the thematic implications of the novel and can even be seen, I suppose, as a sort of postmodernist trope. Wherever the "Letter" is placed, it is really part of an "envelope" consisting of the author's attempt to understand herself through an identification with her mother's generation in part one (sections one and two), and her passing whatever understanding she gains from that process along to her daughter and to the reader in part three (section four and the "Letter to the Reader). In between are the nine chapters about the Kemalist generation that includes her parents, uncles, and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, whose literal and figurative presence broods over the novel since all the major characters of the novel are involved in furthering his Kemalist ideals in modern Turkey. This sort of "envelope" device of creating a context and perspective that gives greater meaning and depth to the main action of the story is of course very old and very common, ranging from medieval epic expressions such as Dante's Commedia, to the Bildungsroman or novel of development that runs from the late eighteenth century to the present, as well as to other traditions of the novel or romance that simultaneously engage personal insight and development, historical setting, and philosophical questions of understanding and style - from Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter to Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago. I will examine Atasü's Other Side of the Mountain by first considering the central story contained in the nine chapters on "The Kemalists," and then I will explore the relationship of the four-section "envelope" to the central story that it encloses.
The nine chapters of the middle section of The Other Side of the Mountain consist of the peak experience of climbing Mountain Uludağ in 1935 by Vicdan and her brothers Reha and Burhan (in the second of the nine chapters), and a series of betrayals and disappointments that are experienced or perpetrated in the other eight chapters of this middle section. The experience on Mount Uludağ occurs when Vicdan has newly embarked on her career as a teacher and is about to marry her fiancé Raik, and her two brothers are about to embark on their careers as officers in the Turkish military. As such, these young people are the embodiment of the Turkish revolution: Vicdan will educate the next generation in Kemalist principles, and Reha and Burhan will be the guardians of those Kemalist principles that will guide Turkish society. A kind of mystical love experience occurs on Uludağ: the three siblings are united in a deep idealism and love for their country, and they are also united by close bonds of brotherly and sisterly love that are intensified by having grown up without a father and being raised in military and orphanage schools. They are also simultaneously concerned with love relationships in their personal lives. The love and idealism of this moment is a standard by which to measure the subsequent events of the novel, and the other eight chapters proceed along a sort of "scale of affection" whereby the disappointments and betrayals of life become increasingly more poignant as all of the characters except Vicdan and perhaps Atatürk sacrifice their idealized love for the Republic for lower forms of love.
When Vicdan climbs Uludağ with her two younger brothers (in the second chapter, "At the Summit," of this middle section), she has already experienced some serious disappointment and betrayal in her relationship with the only close female friend in her life, Nefise. In the first section-chapter, "Vicdan and Nefise: The Kemalist Girls of Cambridge," as part of Ataturk's program to improve Turkish higher education, Vicdan and Nefise are sent to Cambridge University as scholarship students chosen by the young Turkish Republic. Nefise has betrayed Vicdan in a number of ways - by characterizing Vicdan as less Turkish because she is fair and from Salonika rather than dark and from Anatolia, by competing with her for the attention of English men, and later, after returning to Turkey, by lying to the Turkish Education Ministry that Vicdan has not yet returned to Turkey, so that she can secure a teaching position ahead of her friend. At the same time, we are shown a series of brutal historical events - the Nazi treatment of Jews in Berlin during a brief visit to that city during school vacation in 1932; flashbacks of childhood memories of Turkish deserters being hanged during the War for Independence; the betrayal of her retired father, Colonel Hayreddin Bey, by a Turkish neighbor in İzmir to the Greeks, who are "puppets ... of the British" during the same war, and the humiliation and disillusionment of her father, who died an atheist, as a result. In short, we are shown the brutality of twentieth-century life, which implies the importance of friendship as a, bulwark against such brutality, yet this friendship is betrayed. This betrayal is made all the more poignant when the narrator in a "flash forward" tells us how and when all the main characters in this chapter will die, which emphasizes even more the need for steadfast human kindness and friendship in the face of impermanence. Vicdan eventually goes through the painful process of forgiving her thoughtless and selfish friend, and in the process demonstrates a decency that is characteristic of her throughout the novel. (Vicdan lives up to the many meanings of her name, which can mean "conscience" as well as "rapture, ecstasy," and "intense love, grief, or anger").
The brutality of twentieth-century war and politics that is outlined in the first chapter on a European and world level is focused and recapitulated on the national level in the third chapter, "An Honorable Officer," where we witness the early military service of Vicdan's brothers, Reha and Burhan, who participate in a slaughter of Kurdish rebels, including a woman whom Reha has coupled with during the previous night, in eastern Anatolia near Dersim. The author tells us in her "Letter to the Reader" that the Dersim incident is fictional, but it is obviously constructed as a symbolic betrayal of humanity by the state that continues to affect the participants for the rest of their lives, as we see in the next chapter, "Misunderstanding," in which Reha, later in life, commits suicide, and Burhan blames it on Reha's widow and tears the family apart trying to prove her guilt. The "Misunderstanding" of the title is not just that Reha mistakenly thought he had incurable cancer when he didn't and therefore committed suicide, but that Vicdan thought that she knew both Reha and Burhan, and as a result of the suicide and accusations begins to realize she doesn't, know either of them - a kind of self-betrayal that is added to the state's brutal betrayal of its republican Kemalist ideals.
The fifth section-chapter, "The Veteran," continues the theme of brutality and betrayal on the state level, as we follow Vicdan's much younger half-brother, Cumhur ["the nation"] through the Korean War, which was fought by the Turks because of their treaty relationship with the United States through NATO. Through a series of newspaper clippings, Atasü characterizes Turkish participation in Korea as a betrayal of Kemalist principles. She also gives us a much more compelling description of this betrayal in its effect on Vicdan: "Her spirit, that had twined itself round the concept of'country1 like flowering ivy, ever since her days in the teacher-training school for girls, now wilted and drooped. She did not, definitely did not, want to bend with the wind blowing all round her, but withered under a searing insight into what was happening" (144). An entry in Cumhur's Korea journal, shortly before he loses his leg to a shrapnel blast during the battle of Vegas, is equally telling: "We are damned to a cold, dark hell" (158). Earlier, Cumhur confides in his brother-in-law, Raik, the reality of Korea: "Some of my friends are so furious, words can't describe it. I am writing exactly how I feel as officers' letters are not censored. And even if they were, I shouldn't care any longer. The government sent us here, and forgot us!" (149). The reality expressed by Cumhur is also reflected upon Raik, a socialist whose two elder brothers, along with Cumhur's father, were killed in World War I at the battle of Sarıkamış in the Caucasus, fighting with the forces of Enver Paşa against the Czarist forces. Later, he feels betrayed by the brutality of the Russian Communists as well as by the brutality of the Turkish Republic: "Could your homeland betray you like this, like a faithless lover? [...] They shot the Marxist writer; Sabahattin Ali on the border, Nazım [Hikmet] was forced to flee, at the precise moment when hostility towards the Russian bear was rearing its head..." (151). He realizes that "no heart alert to the century's accursed destiny would be able to last long..." (152). The betrayal creates a silence bred of fear, which creeps in even between Vicdan and Raik, who in the early years of their marriage used to recite political poetry by the Marxist poet Nazmı Hikmet (151).
The sixth section-chapter, "You Have Forgotten Salonika," introduces a different kind of betrayal: by the time he dies at age 81, Burhan has betrayed no only his wife, through a series of lovers, but his mother and his ideals as well. After retiring from the military, Burhan becomes a lawyer in Ankara, where he hobnobs with contractors and politicians to make big money. He invites his sister and brother-in-law to dinner to ingratiate himself to a Karadeniz contractor and an American (Raik for the contractor, because he is from the Black Sea [Kara Deniz] although, being educated, he has no regional accent; and Vicdan for the American because she speaks perfect English). Burhan and his two business associates are tied-in with the ruling Democratic Party, who during the 1950s compromised Atatürk's principles by abandoning many of his educational goals for the Anatolian people (they closed the Halk Evleri or people's cultural centers in Anatolia), by pandering to religious factions (the call to prayer, ezan, is no longer recited in Turkish, but has gone back to Arabic), and by ignoring women's rights (178). Worse yet, they are giving away some of the nation's sovereign rights to American business for oil and mineral development, from which certain cliques connected with the Democratic Party will make huge profits (181). And in addition to betraying his wife through a series of mistresses, in compensation Burhan accedes to his wife's demand that his mother will no longer spend part of the year in their household, which breaks his mother's heart (192). Worst of all, Burhan betrays himself by denying his own heritage: he has his identity card falsified to say he was born in İzmir instead of in Macedonia, so that he can avoid prejudice against "overseas" Turks and strengthen his corrupt relations with the Democratic Party. When Vicdan finds out, long afterward, she reacts violently: "LIAR! UNGRATEFUL SWINDLER! HOW CAN ANYONE EXPECT ANYTHING WORTHWHILE FROM SOMEONE WHO DENIES HIS ORIGIN!" (194). Burhan's betrayal of himself is also a betrayal of Kemalist principles and a betrayal of his sister Vicdan: "Take Mustafa Kemal's picture down off your wall, you are not worthy to look at it! You have forgotten your mother, you have forgotten Vecdet [the decent woman he jilted to marry a worthless woman], Handan [his first mistress], Dersim [the site of atrocities during his military service], and Salonika [his birthplace in Thrace]! A day will come when you will have proof that you could not forget completely! I have no wish to be at your side on such a day!" (197).
The seventh section-chapter, "A Happy Marriage," displays the high Kemalist ideals of Vicdan, and her personal sacrifice to keep those ideals alive. This chapter focuses on much more subtle forms of betrayal. In addition to the more obvious personal betrayals of Nefise and Burhan, and the political betrayals of the state ("the Republic had deviated from its destined path," and so "they were truly unhappy, [...] they felt wounded" ), there are betrayals that one is not even aware of:
The satisfactions [Vicdan] abstained from were not as essential to her as I took them to be. She was perfectly sincere on the conscious level when she declared, "I have no regrets." But what of the subconscious, the spinal cord, the muscles, veins, nerves and blood? (208)
These effects include a reticence toward physical love: "Her body felt estranged from her, and became ill!" (208). It is only when Vicdan is nearing the end of her life and suffering from Parkinson's disease that her daughter, the narrator, sees her "having fun with water, enjoying the sensation it left on her skin, like a child discovering its body for the first time, learning with astonishment" (212). Along with Vicdan's increased freedom and awareness on a basic physical level, she also enters a new dimension on a psychological and intellectual level: "She was using a language, even a discourse that was new to her during the hours when her mind was clear - pure Turkish, not the Ottoman dialect she had used from her youth!" (210). Vicdan's beginning to escape from self- and culturally-imposed restrictions at age 80 is paralleled by her daughter-narrator's escape from marriage:
She could see that all the demons she had confined in the depths of her being throughout her entire life had gathered in my mind -jealousy, outrage, vengeance, the pleasure of inflicting pain! I expelled all these demons by turning aggressive. I was free! (211)
Instead of focusing on more overt forms of betrayal or brutality, this chapter shows us the sacrifices that are perhaps necessary to avoid betrayal and brutality. The chapter title, referring to Vicdan's marriage to Raik, is partly ironic since her real grand amour was "the years of constructing the republic...., It was this all-absorbing love which was the high point of her emotional life" (208). Not only did she in part sacrifice her marriage to her Kemalist ideals, but there are also hints that she sacrificed herself in more personal ways for others: for her husband -by leaving a job on the Mediterranean coast to take a job with her husband in a provincial Anatolian town; and for her best and only friend, Nefise - by not publishing her prose and poetry because "Nefise's soul would be hurt" (213).
The eighth section-chapter, "Time in Bursa," focuses on Raik's reaction to the political betrayals that have occurred in twentieth-century Turkey, in both the late Ottoman Empire and the early Republic that succeeded it. To an outsider with some knowledge of Turkish history and culture, this chapter might be the most interesting of all. While Vicdan, Reha, and Burhan are climbing Mount Uludağ in 1935, Raik remains below in the town of Bursa, where he visits a friend who is serving a jail sentence for his socialist political beliefs. Raik is a socialist, too, although he did not join the party, which was banned in Turkey. Raik fled Trabzon before the advancing Czarist armies when he was ten years old - for days his mother rowed them along the Black Sea coast to safety. Afterwards, Raik would never ever forgive those who abandoned his town and its people to destruction, the forces of illiteracy, religious bigotry, and the accursed "imperialism of capitalism" (220). Later, as an adult, Raik's Kemalism provides an institutional framework to channel his "destructive rage" against these three forces into "positive action" (220). However, when his family returned to Trabzon, their house was occupied by another family, and Raik's mother "turned into a female panther [...] and by sheer force of her rage, drove these people out. Later, Raik met one of them, an old man - he was begging on the street" (220). This terrifying view of his mother leads to another betrayal of self, and perhaps explains part of Raik's self-sacrificing idealism to Kemalist values: he "hated his mother that day, hated her strength" (221). Later, he realizes he owes his mother thanks, and "His indebtedness fuelled his rage against himself as well as his hatred for his mother":
His self-reproach grew as he realised that he had been countering his mother's tenderness over many long years with the fury of a moment. But what a moment! a moment pregnant with damaging long-term effects. (221)
The constructive energy that emerges from Raik's rage is channeled into Kemalism rather than the Bolshevism of his jailed cousin in Bursa, who accurately predicts that "The bourgeoisie will sooner or later find a way to suppress this enlightenment" (224), which occurs when the Democratic Party in the 1950s closes the People's Houses [Halk Evleri] and panders to the forces of religious reaction and an industrial development that requires a large pool of cheap, docile workers. And the harsh prison sentence that many Turkish socialists received was also a "Betrayal of the humanitarian ideal!" (225). When Vicdan and her two brothers return from their outing on Uludağ, they have a memorable evening in which they all in turn recite the poetry of Turkish Marxist poet, Nazım Hikmet. Raik recites "The Eyes of the Starving," that describes the aftermath of the revolution in Moscow, and Burhan, who later in life is a vulgar bourgeois capitalist consumed by greed, displays his fervent Kemalist idealism as he recites so well Hikmet's poem, "I Come from the East" (230-31).
The ninth and final section-chapter, "The Other Side of the Mountain," describes the betrayals experienced by Vicdan's mother, Fitnat Hanım, and a different order of betrayal surrounding Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. Atasü previously described some of the hardships that Fitnat Hanım experienced (45-51), but now we are shown the emotional toll that such experiences have taken on her: she loses faith in Atatürk and the young Republic when the house she receives in Istanbul as part of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey is not equal to the house she left behind in Salonika. As a result, she is at odds with the Kemalist idealism of her children, and she doesn't like Raik because he isn't wealthy enough to be Vicdan's husband ("Raik, the Laz, a teacher of mathematics! Could there ever be any chance of this fellow making money?" ). And her disappointment in Atatürk's drinking is a bitter reflection of her own woes: "Everyone knows what he concerns himself with, with drinking rakı! Just like your stepfather!" (240).
The rest of the chapter is devoted to Atatürk, who is the driving force of most of the novel since his educational policies give the scholarships to Vicdan and Nefise that allow them to study at Cambridge, and it is Vicdan's meeting with Atatürk - an actual event that occurred between Atasü's mother and Atatürk - that gives additional force to her Kemalist idealism that is the focus of so much of this book, beginning with Nazım Hikmet's poem that, early in this section of the novel, describes Atatürk during the War for Independence:
He looked like a blond wolf
His blue eyes were lightning flashes
He walked to the cliff edge, leaned over and paused.
He would spring from the Koca Hill to the Afyon Plain
Leaping on lean legs and gliding through darkness
Like a shooting star (68)
The chapter ends with the death of Atatürk, which describes his effect on Vicdan as a kind of sublimation. Previously, the possibility of Atatürk's having a sexual interest in Vicdan is raised because of the gossip of Fitnat Hanim's neighbors when her daughter is chauffeured to give English lessons to Atatürk's adopted daughter. When he decides to see Vicdan personally, the narrator discounts the possibility of anything sexual between them:
No, no, he would not wish for a son or daughter OF HIS OWN FLESH AND BLOOD. Moreover, was not the desire for the partial continuation of one's BODY and mind in somebody else a kind of egotism?
[...] Children of those like Vicdan Hayreddin would understand and love him. These would be his true sons and daughters. (248 & 249)
The "true sons and daughters" of course includes Vicdan's daughter, the narrator of the novel. An important, though not the only, purpose of this book is to reinforce and pass along the secularist ideals of Ataturk's legacy, including the ideal of education and the ideal of national security represented, respectively, by Raik and Vicdan who are teachers, and by her brothers Reha, Burhan, and Cumhur who are military men. At the same time, however, the substantial space devoted to the failures and shortcomings of the Republic prevents the novel from becoming an exercise in political cheerleading:
To bridge the abyss between his personality and that of others is beyond even Mustafa Kemal's power. This is where his destiny frustrates him. Abysses drain away the successes, and insidiously nurture the seeds of coming conflicts, like those clefts where poisonous grasses grow. Who on earth can induce Gazi Pasha to forget about the precipices on the flanks leading from the summit to the foothills? Who indeed? the young people? (248)
The metaphor of the summit and foothills emphasizes that this novel is not only the history of a family and its struggle to come to terms with the losses, betrayals, and sacrifices experienced during a life devoted to high ideals, but it is also the history of a nation in the afterglow of those high ideals that have been so spectacularly successful, but that have also in many ways been betrayed.
The story of twentieth-century Turkey that is presented in the middle section of Atasü's novel is inherently fascinating and will appeal to Turks and non-Turks alike. Moreover, that story is greatly enhanced by Atasü's skillful telling of her story, as a story. That telling is further enriched by the "envelope" of parts one and three in the tripartite structure of the novel, although this envelope is at times in need of clarity and simplification. We now turn to the sections that surround the central story.
The novel starts with a series of visual impressions filtered through memory: "I can remember the fifties.... I remember black heaps of coal on white snow. I remember delivery boys bent under the heavy burden of their baskets of coal. I remember their dilapidated shoes exposing bare feet. I remember the cold classrooms.... I remember voyages. ... I remember the miserable crowds. ... I remember my dreams..." (11). These images are replaced by the trope of actual photographs: "Look at them... can you pick them out among the images of the past? ...those provincial Kemalists?" (11). The focus of the novel is on "those provincial Kemalists," which includes the uncles and parents of the author. The first section of the novel, "Towards Freedom," refers to the experiences of the author/narrator and consists of one chapter, "The Last Decade of Innocence." The novel is in part a novel of development, but unlike Hesse, who projected his middle-age crises into Demian, a Bildungsroman of youth, Atasu's persona in The Other Side of the Mountain is a middle-aged woman who is a writer drawn into her own mother's life through a collection of old photographs and "letters, journals, reflections, and poems" (28) that are kept in a "file" (20, 23, 28) that she carries with her, along with her own writing through which she attempts to come to terms with the disillusionment of her own life. The process of coming to terms with self involves coming to terms with parents, and so the Bildungsroman of middle age - a Wanderjahre of psychological time and space if you will - becomes a cultural history as well since the life of her mother Vicdan is so intertwined with the life of the young Turkish Republic.
The first two brief chapters, each contained under its own separate section heading, negotiate the movement from the author's personal time and space to the mother's personal and social time and space, which includes the Kemalist culture of the early Republic. The first chapter, in little more than four pages of text, moves from early images of the author's childhood, through her adolescent reading of Turkish literature and the heroines she identified with (Feride in The Wren, Rabia in SINEKLIBAKKAL, Zuleyha in THE ANCIENT DISEASE), through her late-adolescent and early adult reading of Western classics like Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Crime and Punishment, and A Doll's House, through her early adult years of marriage and enthusiasm for socialism, into divorce and the disillusionment of an early middle age in which the author's persona looks back wistfully at what might have been, and finally into the 1980s in which innocence disappears on both personal and social levels because of the author's divorce and the political coup of 1980. At the end of this short chapter, the author turns inward "to the ballad within me" and returns "home to the steppe" (15) - images of self-examination and a return to personal and cultural Anatolian roots (the "other side" of Mount Uludağ, away from the formerly imperial culture of Istanbul), as is appropriate to the "taking stock" of middle age. In the process, she learns to "respect my parents' and my own generations," so that the chapter ends with the one-sentence paragraph: "Now, I am free, for the first time." The implication is that the loss of illusion can be used to gain self knowledge as well as knowledge of and respect for her own and other generations.
At the same time that the author's persona gives us a chronological accounting of her life, her narrative is interrupted with statements in parentheses that contradict, correct, question, or even mock the sentiments of the 'official1 narrative. When the author looks at a picture of her Kemalist parents who "used to look absurd seen through the eyes of the Seventies, but now seem so tragic," we are given a single-sentence parenthetical paragraph: "(Is it not touching that they even took enjoyment so seriously, just like your generation?)" (11). The self irony identifies the older Kemalist generation with the author's generation and points toward the self knowledge and return to roots at the end of the chapter. Other parenthetical statements act as a corrective to the main narrative:
(You are getting it wrong, confused about the decades. [...]) (12)
([...] why don't you accept that you have never loved either the time or place you inhabited, ever since your childhood ended?) (12)
(You refused to admit that you were buried up to your neck in the common fate of woman. [...]) (13)
(Sheer anachronism... [...] You are recalling the emotions of a later time and confusing them with earlier ones. In the years of armed political anarchy, you were an ordinary housewife. And what was your pastime? Teaching at the University) (14) these parenthetical remarks are part of a personal and collective "coming to terms," a process that requires re-examination, recollection, and reordering to arrive at any sort of understanding of self and society.
The second short introductory chapter (just under ten pages) is titled "The Wave" and comprises the entire section, "Towards the Open Sea ... Memories and Illusions." The section sub-titled "Memories and Illusions" suggests the dialectic between the narrative and parenthetical comments in the first chapter, while the "Open Sea" suggests the formless potentialities of the self that might be associated with a breaking away from the illusions and stereotyped roles of ordinary existence. It also suggests the theme of death or freedom from the confines of the physical body - a leitmotif that occurs several times in this second chapter. The chapter begins with the author's childhood memories of the feel of her mother's "thick blue satin" dress that "I used to handle as a child" and that now "has been torn apart... [...] and will disintegrate into an amorphous grey..." (19). In the next paragraph the author's persona returns to the present, where she is at a seaside town in Turkey on the Mediterranean, which in turn "brings back memories of the unending seas of the North, grey and rough with no skyline...." This memory brings forth a piece of creative writing that the persona is working on:
I was in a north European city, when I thought of committing suicide. The winds of freedom of the late sixties were blowing round me without touching me. Twenty years have passed ...I said, 'Let me jump into the cold grey water and let everything be over." The river attracted me like a magnet. I changed my mind, and walked away, the instinct f or life had prevailed. Now, once again, I am on the same shore. (19)
The author is dissatisfied with this melodramatic piece of writing that thinly veils her own feelings even as it overstates and falsifies them. The author's persona is dissatisfied with her own writing in part as a result of comparing herself to Virginia Woolf ("she [the persona] wasn't a writer[...]. Recording her awareness in this way helped neither in the expression of emotion nor in the creation of poetic prose" (19-20). Consequently, she puts the written page into the file that "she was lately in the habit of taking with her wherever she went" (20). The file that holds her own creative work, along with her mother's photos, letters, and diaries, is a nice symbol of the synthesis of the narrator's memories, her mother's photos, letters, and diaries, and the imagination that ties everything together even while hinting, in best post-modern fashion, that everything -from personal identity to history, is fiction.
Atasü's personal puts her written passage away because she is distracted by the coming ceremony to recognize her mother as one of the founders of a teacher-training institute. Since the mother is bedridden and stricken with Parkinson's disease and dementia, the daughter will attend the ceremony and accept the award for her mother. It is apparently this fact, along with the persona's own middle-age crisis, that has moved the daughter to try to understand her mother. She carries her mother's diamond with her, as well as an evening dress that fits her perfectly and shows that she is the same size as her mother was at the same age. Ultimately, the author's goal is to understand her mother well enough to reconcile her idealized vision of her childhood memories of her mother, "beautiful and graceful... almost ethereal... the embodiment of all the promise life had to offer," and the senile remains of that beauty and promise.
We next witness a series of dialogues, including dialogues between the narrator and the unnamed colleagues of her mother at the ceremony in which the mother is to be honored. Instead of the narrator's part in the conversation, however, we mostly hear her thoughts, which act as an ironic counterpoint to the conventional polite statements:
- She was always smiling.
(She was always morose in recent years.)
But I never heard her laugh heartily.
(Neither did I. Did she think it unseemly?)
She was always considerate, courteous, and inspired respect.
(She was too considerate, you might say. She could be overbearing in the name of respectability. She did not enjoy life in any holiday spirit.)
Interspersed with such dialogue is another dialogue from the narrator's recent memory that, like the ironic parenthetical thoughts of the narrator, contrast with the conventional pleasantries and polite lies of such ceremonious occasions. In this case, the narrator's speech is simultaneously counterpoised by the memory of the recent experience with her mother that is so ironically different from the spoken words:
When I turn to the past, I remember her in her simple but elegant suits. Wherever she walked, she would leave behind the wonderful scent of lavender.
- Quick, open the window, let in some fresh air. Mother, mother! ...
- Relax, madam, you're exhausting yourself. The old lady can't hear anything today.
- How can I relax? I hope she has another clean nightgown ... (21)
In spite of the ironies of the ceremonies, the narrator is afterward moved to examine the file that holds her mother's letters, but she is faced with contradictions that leave her frustrated:
She was gentle... She was tough...
She was merry... She was morose...
She was full of the joy of living... She was sad...
Next, we are given the text of a long letter written by the mother to her husband when they are separated during his military service in the winter of 1941 when Turkey is trying to maintain its neutrality during World War ü. Reading the letter brings the narrator to tears, resolves some of her conflicting emotions ("A fierce pain seized her as a great sense of joy came to birth" ), and she experiences a release of sexual tension that in part resolves the frustrations of her youth years earlier when she had "ached with yearning" (27). Finally, the narrator returns to her own manuscript, in which she thinks about herself in terms of Virginia Woolf s image of a water drop (19, 28), speculates on the nature of identity in both physical and spiritual terms, and turns the image of a water drop into a wave, suggesting not only Virginia Woolf s images in her novel The Waves, but also her mother's use of the image in her previous letter, in which she describes "Waves of misery [that] give way to waves of joy" and ponders "the conflict between them" (26). At the very end of the chapter, the narrator puts her mother's name on her manuscript under her own, and dedicates it "To all women who have committed suicide and to those who have returned from the brink." She also puts on her mother's blue satin evening gown and arranges her hair in the same '50s fashion as in a photo of her mother: she has in effect become a collaborator with her mother, who stares back at her holding the notebook she kept secretly, "with a sad smile on her lips and a playful gleam flickering in her eyes" (28). As opposite emotions come together and the mother and daughter merge, we are ready for the novel's middle section that contains the main narrative, a history of the narrator's mother Vicdan Hayreddin that is in effect the history of the generation of young Kemalists who embodied Atatürk's ideals and shaped much of the emotional and political life of the Turkish Republic during the twentieth century.
The third part of the novel's tripartite structure, consisting of section four and a "Letter to the Reader," begins at Cebeci Cemetery in Ankara, where the narrator visits the graves of her mother and father, Vicdan and Raik. The author has symbolically merged with her mother, who through her letters and the imaginative reconstruction of her life "confess] from beyond the grave and reflect[s] her hidden desires" (253). After her mother's death, the author makes a pilgrimage to visit the places in England, the Continent, and Anatolia that were important in the lives of her parents (254-57). When she visits the Anatolian town where her father first began teaching, she first describes it beautiful cultural heritage from the times of the Selçuks and the Anatolian troubadours, and then curses "The cindered remains of a conflagration":
How could any town, how could any country degenerate into a bloodsoaked fire festival erasing both conscience and poetry? While the pockets of the landowners bulged with filthy banknotes, while coins clinked against the whisky glasses of weavers and cartwrights, while the gallows performed its hangings, while the relentless waves of the starving surged over the steppe, while a midget, the puppet of capitalism, after = settling on the loftiest perch, in a single stroke destroyed justice after splitting it off
from success; a town, a country, turned into a bloodsoaked festival of fire! (257)
Atasü will not mention the town ("No, I shall not utter her name, lest it scorch my tongue. I reject this treacherous, cruel, and stupid town!" ), but it is Sivas, where in July 1993 thirty-seven people died when a mob of religious fundamentalists burned down a hotel where a meeting of Alevis and intellectuals was taking place.10 In the novel, the event symbolizes the increasing religious fundamentalism and the contravention of secularist Kemalist values in late twentieth-century Turkey. The "midget, the puppet of capitalism" is Turgut Özal, the architect of the late twentieth-century capitalist 'miracle1 in Turkey.11 In cursing the forces of anti-Kemalist reaction in contemporary Turkey, Atasü carries on the idealistic and humane values of her parents in a less controlled and genteel manner. And when she leaves the cemetery and gives her hand, "drenched in light" to her daughter, she is in effect passing on the assimilated values of her parents to her daughter and, through the "Letter to the Reader," to her Turkish compatriots as well. Along the way, she makes clear that "the story of my country [...] run[s] on the shadow-screen of the imagination" (273): traditional history, no less than The Other Side of the Mountain, is the product of the imagination. The major difference is that the novel is more overtly conceived in love. The novel begins with a dedication "For my dear daughter Reyhan," and concludes with a "Letter to the Reader" signed "From Erendiz Atasü, with love" (283).
The English translation concludes with the "Letter to the Reader," which in the Turkish version is placed as a sort of Preface at the beginning of the novel. Thematically, it is more appropriate at the end, because it expands the circle of understanding and love that Vicdan passes to her daughter the narrator, who in the process of writing the novel passes it on to her daughter Reyhan and to the reader. Also, the original version is not signed "With love," which seems more appropriate in theme and tone if placed at the end. About a page-and-a-half of the original Turkish text (on pp. 18-19, 19-20, and 21) is omitted from the translated "Letter," and elsewhere, some specific details about the schools where Atasü's mother attended and taught are omitted (pp. 13 & 14) - which is unfortunate since I suspect that many English readers will have enough first-hand knowledge of Turkey to be interested in these details. We are also given some interesting information about Atasü's mixing of fact and fiction in her novel, as well as some of her beliefs about literature and culture: "I believe national culture - or indeed world culture - to be a unified whole, not a patchwork where all the bits and pieces belong solely to the one who has fashioned it" (281). She concludes with an emphasis on "the three great people whose influence on my heart and mind resonate through this book: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, whose being supplied the sap which has sustained my country's life; that major poet, Nazım Hikmet; and the major writer Virginia Woolf, whose work has drawn me ever closer to the writer hidden within me" (283). The influence of Atatürk and Hikmet, which resonates throughout the novel, is obvious. Taking the novel in its entirety, however, the place of Virginia Woolf should be supplanted by Atasü's mother, whose persona Vicdan is the center of consciousness through most of the novel, and whose name is placed below the author's persona's name on the title page of the novel she is writing (28), which presumably becomes The Other Side of the Mountain. Moreover, the influence of Virginia Woolf on Atasü is not entirely fortunate, as it is the source of some basic structural problems in this novel.
The allusions to Virginia Woolf in the text of the story are minimal - a brief reference by Vicdan to a paper given in Cambridge by Woolf and her suicide by drowning (26), a mention of Woolf as an icon for oppressed women (71), and Vicdan's reading of The Waves (268). In contrast to the few specific references to Woolf, her stylistic influence on this novel is considerable, especially in the first two chapters that begin the "envelope" that surrounds the central story. This stylistic influence in the first two chapters results in conflicting symbolism, confusing organization, a feminist ideology that is at times obtrusive rather than inherent in the subject matter, and a view of human identity that is sometimes at variance with what actually occurs in the novel. In the first matter, the title The Other Side of the Mountain provides the informing symbol of the middle section of the novel, where it is an effective sign of the betrayals and disappointments of life that often lead either to disillusionment or to a kind of existential strength and resolve to maintain one's ideals and decency in the face of certain defeat. Reha and Burhan succumb to disillusionment through conscious acts, Cumhur has a sense of humor that allows him to accept disillusionment without becoming a 'sell-out,1 Colonel Hayreddin Bey is humiliated in old age and dies in despair, and Fitnat Hanım becomes old and embittered by economic injustice; only Vicdan (and Raik, although little is made of it) has the strength to maintain her ideals in the face of so many betrayals by family and friends and state. As such, her story is an inspiration and has universal significance to men and women - to humanity - and doesn't require the feminist window dressing that her daughter-narrator brings to it. In contrast to the informing metaphor of descending from the peaks of youthful enthusiasm and idealism in the central story, however, the informing metaphor of the "envelope" is the sea or a wave, an image and symbol taken from Virginia Woolf s The Waves, which is referred to in the text of Atasü's novel. Atasü's love and admiration for Virginia Woolf is apparent in a number of ways, and The Waves is certainly a wonderful novel. But what is very clear in Woolf s novel (which has an undeserved reputation for difficulty), becomes somewhat unclear in Atasü's novel, where the images of sea and waves conflict with the central mountain-climbing metaphor. Moreover, the imported ideology makes the story difficult to follow at the outset and undermines the finest part of her story. The first part of the novel is divided into two sections, "Towards Freedom" and "Towards the Open Sea ... Memories and Illusions," while the third part of the novel has the section, "On Another Shore." In between, the middle section that contains 85% of the novel is "Islands of the Past... Photographs and Letters of Bygone days ..." The implication is that the narrator has been shore bound, 'takes the plunge1 toward a freedom represented by the formlessness of the open sea, and through evaluating the experiences of her family through memory and letters and photographs, which appear to be "islands" of stability and clarity but are instead "illusions," she arrives on "another shore."
The sea or wave metaphor works when it is unobtrusively embedded in the text, as when Vicdan and Burhan "stood on opposite shores of reality" (197), or when the narrator compares the identity of generations as a process of transition, like a wave ("My mother's existence was dissolving into mine" ). But the awkward division of the novel into so many parts and the introduction of a metaphor that conflicts with the central metaphor of mountain climbing is confusing and off-putting, and creates unnecessary difficulties for the reader. In the process of writing this article, I passed The Other Side of the Mountain around to friends to get their impressions: two (male) Near Eastern specialists with experience in Turkey and a focus on Iran (one an Iranian-American, the other born in America), a (female) Turkish graduate student in literature (of about the age of the narrator's daughter, Reyhan), and another (female) reader, a physician with experience in Turkey. In all of these cases, the unclear organization of the novel appears to have diminished the reader's response to the novel. For greater clarity, the novel might have been divided into three accurately labeled sections that correspond to the tripartite structure of the novel, and the English translation needs a clear and complete table of contents (which the Turkish version has) as well as running headings that reflect individual chapters (the Turkish version has none; the English translation has only author and title in the running headings). In my own case, I found the lack of immediate clarity irritating, but was delighted by the central story, which contains so much of interest to anyone with even a slight acquaintance with or interest in Turkey. For example, those who have traveled in Anatolia will have seen numerous war memorials to those who died fighting in Korea, but probably never had any idea of the political attitudes and the feelings of those involved, let alone details of the actual engagement; the novel gives a vivid account of this recent Turkish history. Similarly, there has been a fair amount of information in the media during the last few years about the ongoing struggle with the Kurds in southeastern Turkey, but the reader will find fresh insight into the matter from the sense of lived experience provided in the novel. But above all, the central narrative is a great story that is well told and that depicts an impressive humanity that is meaningful in the broadest sense - in short, it fulfill's Atasu's belief that "world culture is a unified whole" (281).
The confusion created by conflicting symbols and unclear organization is irritating, but a more serious shortcoming is Atasu's obtrusive feminism and her apparent misunderstanding of Woolf s novel The Waves, which she tries to emulate with unfortunate results. In the first matter, a pair of examples will suffice to demonstrate how feminist ideology at times leads Atasü to be less technically-competent as a writer. The first example is from the chapter "Vicdan and Nefise: The Kemalist Girls of Cambridge," in which Nefise decides to reject the proposal of her aristocratic English suitor, which is a rejection of chauvanistic male-female relations that parallel the imperialistic attitude of Great Britain toward the recently-defunct Ottoman Empire and the new Republic of Turkey. Virginia Woolf is used as a symbol that inspires Nefise to make this choice:
A slender image, carved out of time and pain, shimmered in the moonlight. It was the image of the English authoress Virginia Woolf. Nefise, along with Vicdan, had listened to her paper at a conference in Cambridge a few months earlier. Woolf talked about things they had not thought about before, speaking of insights they had not sensed through spine or brain before. She talked about time and womanhood, about the crushing weight of centuries that had rolled over the female sex. The knowledge and the exquisite taste of all these centuries had filtered through the sediment of pain and guilt they bore, and imbued the writer's sensitive features. A sad woman ... A great woman ... A lonely woman... How could it be otherwise... They had felt it...
They had sensed it... Woolf s eminence and independence were not enough to defeat pain ... That insight threatened Nefise and Vicdan. It was just not enough...Neither Woolf s nor great Britain's eminence and independence were enough to defeat the pain of womanhood.
[...] She had to obey the champion who held out a magic staff, carved out of wisdom and exquisite taste, for her to grasp and leap over the centuries. Could she do it? She did not know. She had to try. She had no other choice, no other ray of hope to lighten the dark and crushing doom the centuries had heaped on the womanhood of her country, (p. 71)
Leaving aside the question of whether Woolf- with her privileged intellectual and economic position and her supportive father, husband, and friends - is an apt symbol of oppressed Anatolian woman generally or of Nefise specifically; and leaving aside the question of whether Woolf s periods of depression that led to her suicide were the result of her oppression as a woman; Atasu's use of Woolf as a model of the narrator's contemplation of suicide elsewhere in the novel (pp. 19, 255) seems unjustified and bathetic. In the passage just quoted, the model of Virginia Woolf as a religious icon to inspire a naive Turkish girl to turn down a British aristocrat who proposed marriage to her while drunk seems silly, as does the overblown melodramatic style. Atasü drags Woolf in by the heels, and the intended effect is lost.
Elsewhere, however, Atasü is effective indeed when she lets characters and situations speak for themselves. Near the end of the chapter "The Veteran," which focuses almost exclusively on the Turkish participation in the Korean War, the death of Vicdan's half-brother Cumhur thirty-five years later is described in a flash forward:
For a long time he had been living like a prickly bush right in the middle of a tranquility created by women. Here was his daughter clearing the dining table; his wife was in the kitchen, she must have been heating the washing-up water; he could smell the soap. Ever since he had started to spend the greater part of his days at home, he had been watching their domestic chores like a shadow-play. Without being aware of it, he had come to know their ways in minute detail. At this moment, his daughter was wiping the breadcrumbs off the table into a teflon container, using a synthetic yellow sponge. Such doings must have some significance! He, Cumhur Bey, had never been able to grasp this meaning: the idea that he himself might explore what domestic tasks were about had never even crossed his mind.
It had gradually been dawning on him, as a troubling perception, that the women's shadow-play was the sole reality, solid and reliable, of his existence. [...]
[...] He did not imagine that his wife and daughter were perceptive enough to see through him. Such an insight had to be completely out of the question, he thought, just as it was impossible for him to fathom the reactions of women. So he kept silent, (pp. 163-64)
Half a page later, Cumhur's death is quietly and movingly described. Such a brief passage speaks worlds about the invisible position of women, the blindness of men, and the loss for humanity in such a situation. It is described without bells and whistles or cheerleading, and the effect is a poignant authenticity. In the first passage above, Atasü tells us, rather ineffectively, that women are oppressed and denigrated; in the second passage, she shows us how women are sometimes excluded from male consciousness and recognition. The first passage is ideology; the second is literature.
The final and most important problem created by Atasü's use of Woolf is her apparent misunderstanding of The Waves and her use of modernist themes and style. Her use of interior dialogue İn chapter 1, which has already been discussed, is a common device in Victorian literature and is effectively used in Atasü's novel. All of us probably go through the process of reliving feelings from the past, and in the process reconstructing those feelings - the "deconstitution and reconstitution" of human identity that is an important existential process.12 Nor is it obtrusive when Vicdan, in an early letter to her young husband Raik expresses a view of identity common to both Shakespeare and Woolf: "Do you agree, Raik, that we individuals are really more than one person? You, me, all people... [.] How many Vicdans exist inside me, and how many Raiks inside you?" (268). Such 'modernist' themes as the tentative nature of perception and the fluid nature of human identity are real enough, although the pressure of events -especially some of military events depicted in this novel - precludes most people from giving serious consideration to such ideas. In Atasü's novel, such ideas are used effectively to inspire the reader through the example of Vicdan's steadfast and staunch authenticity - in her following a life path that is meaningful to her and that gives meaning to the lives of countless others through her career as a teacher. To emphasize that such ideals are constructed and require strenuous effort to implement, reinforces our admiration for Vicdan and for the iron will of the originator of those ideals, Atatürk. But insofar as Atasü visualizes her persona as another Virginia Woolf- standing on the brink of suicide or delving into the exaggerated complexities of constructing a self, she undermines the best part of her novel. Presumably the author's moving beyond "the open sea" in the first part of the novel to "another shore" in the final part is going beyond suicide to reach a better understanding of and respect for her own and her parents' generations. But insofar as Atasü sees Virginia Woolf as a paradigm, she undermines the most cohesive, meaningful, and enjoyable part of her novel, which is a good story that is well told Atasü seems to misunderstand Woolf s The Waves, which presents us with a beautiful elegaic sense of the indeterminate depths of human identity, which overwhelms and 'drowns' characters and readers alike - quite the opposite of what Atasü so well accomplishes in her novel. Woolf s ideas on identity were heavily influenced by Shakespeare - her water drop image, which Atasü plays on in several passages of her novel, comes from Syracusian Antipholus' first soliloquy that occurs in act one, scene two of The Comedy of Errors. But Shakespeare in his early comedies presents his constructive, performative ideas about identity and reality as a foundation upon which to reconstruct a more ideal society. Atasü in The Other Side of the Mountain follows suit while giving a more realistic appraisal of the existential difficulties involved, but at the same time her mistaken notion of Woo If s project in The Waves apparently leads her to believe she is following in her admired author's footsteps.13 It is our gain as readers that she doesn't succeed in following Woolf, although her attempt occasionally threatens to obscure the beauty of her main story and introduces some unnecessary and irritating difficulties into her novel. The vagaries of the character Bernard in The Waves are fascinating, but I would venture that no reader would be inspired to emulate his life. Thanks to her failure to reincarnate some of Woolf s values in The Waves, we have in Atasu's The Other Side of the Mountain a wonderful story that is well told and that depicts an impressive humanity: in short, it fulfills Atasu's belief, expressed in her "Letter to the Reader," that "world culture is a unified whole" (281).
Finally, it only remains to make a few brief comments on the Atasü-Maslen translation and the editing of Atasu's novel. The novel is well translated - there is surely an advantage to having an author as the co-translator of her own work. Perhaps the chapter title, "The Veteran," ["Gazi" in Turkish] might better be rendered "The War Hero," but there is precious little to quibble with in this translation, other than a few typos and other editorial slips: on page 14 an interior dialogue is conveyed through passages in parentheses, and the closing parenthesis is placed at the end of the first complete paragraph, instead of including also the next short paragraph as it does in the original Turkish text; on page 158 the last paragraph indent should be preceded by a line space, as in the Turkish text, to separate Vicdan's understanding of Cumhur's experience in Korea from Cumhur's actual experience; on page 159 there is a bit of garbled text (7-8 lines from the bottom of the page) that is a result of computer editing: "How innocent these crowds of They did not have pin-up pictures above their beds" [apparently "They" should be replaced by "men who"]; on page 163 Raik dies of an "infraction" instead of an "infarction"; on page 170 the anniversary of Ataturk's death is, surprisingly, given as the tenth of December instead of November [kasım is correctly given in the original text]; on page 241 and elsewhere, "Caucassian mountains" is used instead of "Caucasus mountains"; and on page 269 the name "Vecdet" is misspelled as "Vicdet." Throughout, the English translation preserves the original Turkish spelling of names and special words, which is entirely appropriate in this age of computers (I detected only one slip: on page 232 "kaşar cheese" is spelled "kasar," without the tail on the "s").
With the exception of the lack of a full and clear table of contents and the improperly formatted running headings, the volume is well edited and designed. The cover is quite attractive - a slightly impressionistic painting of a young woman against a backdrop of fabric textures -although to my mind it doesn't suggest the sweep and energy of the novel, and it isn't likely to make the novel leap off the shelf into the prospective reader-buyer's hand. I suspect the designer had the women's issues of the novel in mind rather than the historical sweep and family drama that will attract most Turks and turchophiles. The cover design by Fahri Karagözoğlu for the Turkish edition, on the other hand, displays on old photograph of a Turkish family (probably the author's) that seems more appropriate. The design of this and other Atasü volumes in Turkish is on a par with the best American book design, and Bilgi Yayınevi is to be commended for departing from the drab, plain covers that are more common on modern Turkish literary works.
San Diego State University
5 Lord Kinross, Atatürk: A Biography of Mustafa Kemal, Father of Modern Turkey (New York: William Morrow, 1965); The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire (New York: William Morrow, 1977).
8 Yaşar Kemal, Dağın Öte Yüzü (İstanbul: Toros Yayınları, 1992). Translated by Thilda Kemal as The Wind from the Plain (London: William Collins Sons & Co., Ltd., 1963); Iron Earth, Copper Sky (London: William Collins Sons & Co., Ltd., 1974); and The Undying Grass (London: William Collins Sons & Co., Ltd., 1977).
9 The contrast between the Toros and the Çukurova is inherent in nearly all of Kemal's novels, including the İnce Memed tetralogy - not just in the three volumes of Dağın Öte Yüzü. The best expression of the existential relationship between life in the Toros and life in the Çukurova is probably Chapter 7 of Yagmurcuk Kuşu ["the little rain bird," translated into English as Salmon the Solitary], the first volume of Kemal's autobiographical Kimsecik ["little nobody"] trilogy. Chapter 7 tells the story of the disillusionment and transformation of Halil Zalimoğlu, from Doruk village in the Toros, after he works for years in the Çukurova and is cheated out of his life's work by his corrupt employer.
13 Atasü's apparent literary misinterpretation also extends to her allusion to Dostoevsky's Sonia in Crime and Punishment, where she is described as "commit[ting] crimes to satisfy her passion for punishment" (p. 12).