Saturday, 19 November 2016

Aylin by Ayse Kulin

Aylin by Ayşe Kulin
Published in Turkish as Adi: Aylin in Turkey in 1997. English translation, possibly by Dara Colakoglu, published by Amazon Crossing in October 2015.

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How I got this book:
Received a review copy from its publishers via NetGalley.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Aylin’s body was found in her garden, her hair immaculately styled as usual. Her death came as a shock—after all, who would have wanted someone so admired and talented dead? Who—among the many she’d helped, the few she’d hurt, and all those she’d left behind—might have been driven to murder? In the course of Aylin’s life, she had been many things: a skinny little girl, a young woman blossoming into a beauty, a princess married to a controlling Libyan prince, a broke medical student determined to succeed. She’d been a seductress, a teacher, a renowned psychiatrist, and a Turkish immigrant remarkably at home as an officer in the US Army. Through it all, she’d loved, been in love, and pursued truth without surrender. Whatever role she’d found herself in, she’d committed to it fully and lived it with her heart, mind, and soul.

Aylin is an affluent Turkish woman, brilliant and beautiful, but incapable of finding the happiness she craves in her life. The novel begins with her freak death - murder or accident? - before jumping back to her childhood and adolescence, the moving forward through her life. I found it difficult to really get into the story and never particularly cared about Aylin herself because of the way her tale was told. A leading psychologist, she failed to recognise basic destructive behaviour patterns in herself so the novel is essentially her jumping from one marriage to the next, but with no sense of love or emotion. Supporting characters like her sister and niece came across much more convincingly to me, but I thought the male characters were frequently flat.

I am not sure if the distance I felt from the characters was due to Kulin's storytelling style or whether the translation from Turkish was at fault. Certainly much of the book is set in America which disappointed me as I was hoping to read about Turkey. I was baffled by viewpoint switches such as suddenly finding myself reading the innermost thoughts of a mute nun, and spent most of the book feeling that I had missed the point.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Ayse Kulin / Contemporary fiction / Books from Turkey

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