Murat Gülsoy

Murat Gülsoy

Murat Gülsoy (born 1967) started his literary career as a publisher and a writer of the bimonthly magazine Hayalet Gemi (Ghost Ship) in 1992. His works explore the metafictional potentials of self-consciousness with ‘page turning’ plots. He also produced interactive hypertext works on internet exploring new ways of narrative.

Gülsoy has published 11 books in Turkey so far. Besides short stories, he has three novels addressing modern masters Kafka, Borges, Eco, Stern, Fowles and Orhan Pamuk. He is the recipient of most prestigious national literary awards.

Being a writer, he also works as an engineer for biomedical science, as a psychologist, as a teacher for creative writing. He is the chairperson of the editorial board of Bogazici University Press. Stehlen Sie dieses Buch is the first book to be translated into German (Literaturca Verlag). His last novel, ‘A Week of Kindness in Istanbul’ has been translated to Chinese, Macedonian, Romanian, and Bulgarian.

In the beginning …

excerpt from the novel The Lingering Death of a Lover

If only he had a harpoon with him… when he noticed the squid that suddenly appeared in front of him as he was chasing a swarm of fish with orange stripes he had never seen in his life before, Cem regretted not having a harpoon with him. When the creature started letting out a milky white liquid as a sign that it perceived him as a threat, Cem set off headed for the shore without looking back. Was there any such thing as an albino squid?

He was near the rocks. Serap was floating on the surface of the water. Her arms stretched out. As if she was asleep. Cem held his breath, deciding to surprise the young woman by swimming underwater.

They were wrapped up in an embrace. She had her legs around Cem’s waist. They were sinking slowly. The water was cold but Cem could feel his body temperature rising; his groins were on fire. His ears were blocked. The crackling sound of the sea urchins mixed with the roar of a distant engine. Serap’s mouth was now a sea monster. A soft and inviting abalone whose cavities he explored with his tongue. Seaweed dancing between their legs.

When he got up on the boat he realised he had dropped his watch. Aslı was lying down on the front deck of the boat, topless. They had better find a spot where they wouldn’t be seen from the shore. Frivolous girl. Cem drew the paddles, staring at the barbed wire tattoo winding around her ankle. I have to buy a new watch now, he thought. The silhouette of Serap lying on the beach reading grew smaller and became blurred. Crackles… The hot and rough surface of the paddle with crumbled paint burned his hands. He noticed that one of the rowlocks was quite loose. As he tried to secure it in place it went to pieces. The moment he laid hands on the other one it felt apart too. As he was trying to figure out how he’d hold the paddles in place, Cem heard Aslı’s voice. Look, the weather’s getting strange! When Cem looked up he saw that a white fog had cloaked everything. The albino squid! Could it really be that effective? If only he had his harpoon with him…

The island was now completely invisible. The horizon line had fused as the sea and sky met at the same colour, and those on the boat were trapped inside a gigantic water drop. Was it morning or evening? You couldn’t tell… They just stood there waiting. If only he hadn’t dropped his watch… Cem couldn’t recognise the phone ringing at first. The cover of the thick book Serap was reading had faded in the sun. Aren’t you going to get that? There was a mischievous look on Serap’s face. I mean the phone. Her cheeks had gone red just like on nights when she’d had too much wine. Cem asked Aslı for a cigarette. No, I’m not going to answer it. Serap and Aslı caught each other’s eyes. They shrugged. Suit yourself Cem. As Cem watched the orange fish swarming under the boat, the phone went on ringing insistently. Outside the blue water drop, in another world.

Murat Gülsoy
© Translated by İdil Aydoğan

Published with the permission of Murat Gülsoy