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“I Will Never See the World Again” Remembering Ahmet Altan #AhmetAltanaÖzgürlük

I Will Never See the World Again by Ahmet Altan review – writing behind bars

The imprisoned Turkish novelist has produced a wonderful memoir about his arrest, captivity and his urge to create

To review certain books seems like an impertinence. This is one of them. It speaks for itself with such clarity, certainty and wisdom that only one thing needs to be said: read it. And then read it again. It is a short book, divided into brief chapters, some no longer than two pages, each recounting some incident from the author’s prison experience. It is wonderfully distilled, but not sententious; even in extremis, Altan never loses the limpidity and translucence, vivid with the vividness of dreams, which is characteristic of his other writing – as far as one can judge from the only other books of his available in English translation, Like a Sword Wound, the superb first volume of his Ottoman Quartet; and Endgame, a phantasmagorical crime story. Even the latter has, at the heart of all the violence, a dreamy, wide-eyed quality that seems to be quintessential Altan. To judge by I Will Never See the World Again, it has been and will be his salvation….

 

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