1900s, books, WWII

Without A Country is Without Energy

without a country #histfic

Without a Country, by Ayse Kulin, is the story of a Jewish couple who escape Germany in 1933 and move to Turkey, along with the story of their resultant family.

I’m not sure if it was the translation(from the Turkish) or the book itself, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

The book, in a sense, is a history of Turkey, and there’s a great deal of “telling” as opposed to “showing.” In other words, I felt at times as though I was reading a newspaper article about what happened in Turkey prior to WWII, during it and afterwards.

The couple, Gerhard and Elsa, struggle as he tries to settle into a professorship of pathology in Turkey. They have two children, a boy and a girl, and we are treated to the daughter’s life as she is growing up, when she marries and has a child of her own.

That daughter, Susie, is a little different than in other novels of this type because she marries a Muslim and converts. Religion doesn’t seem to be a big deal for the major characters in this novel, but of course it is a big deal for many other people in the couple, which adds to Turkey’s problems as the years go on.

The book is set in Istanbul and Ankara, with a few location scenes in Germany and England.

Susie and her husband have a daughter named Sude, and she grows up to have adventures and a daughter of her own.

The book has a bit of a soap opera quality and is very matter of fact about things like couples falling in love, making love and getting married. There isn’t much emotion that comes across. Again, it may be the translation,which I’ve found to be a problem in other books I’ve read, but it leaves a sense that the author didn’t care much about what happens in the book. And as a result, a reader, unless he or she is particularly interest in Turkey, won’t care much either.

Again, I would appreciate a share on Pinterest.

Grade: C

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