Synopsis: With all the wit and brilliance of Chekhov, a distinctive collection of lyrical stories from Sait Faik Abasıyanık, “Turkey’s greatest short story writer” (The Guardian)
Sait Faik Abasıyanık’s fiction traces the interior lives of strangers in his native Istanbul: ancient coffeehouse proprietors, priests, dream-addled fishermen, poets of the Princes’ Isles, lovers and wandering minstrels of another time. The stories in A Useless Man are shaped by Sait Faik’s political autobiography – his resistance to social convention, the relentless pace of westernization, and the ethnic cleansing of his city – as he conjures the varied textures of life in Istanbul and its surrounding islands. The calm surface of these stories might seem to signal deference to the new Republic’s restrictions on language and culture, but Abasıyanık’s prose is crafted deceptively, with dark, subversive undercurrents. “Reading these stories by Sait Faik feels like finding the secret doors inside of poems,” Rivka Galchen wrote. Beautifully translated by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe, A Useless Man is the most comprehensive collection of Sait Faik’s stories in English to date.
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