The King of Taskim Square - by Emrah Serbes
Posted on March 28th, 2017
This book is quite different from what I usually read. It is written from the point of view of a Turkish teenager, Çağlar, who starts the book explaining to the reader his admiration for his little sister, Çiğdem. As we start our journey with Çağlar, Çiğdem is about to go on stage to perform as a young Michael Jackson cover dancer in a competition to go on television. As we keep going during the book, we learn more about Çağlar’s family (his mother and uncle mostly) and his life (his studies, his friends) and how much he tries to help his little sister to anything. As the book evolves, the way Çağlar describes his surroundings and life changes and we discover that a lot of what he describes in the book is a very biased point of view with all the flaws that a teenager view of the world might have.
The book touches on family, relationships, friendship, nepotism and, finally, politics and, later but also importantly, the political uprises that took place in Turkey in May 2013. In an attempt to immerse the reader in the narrator’s life and thoughts, the book goes a bit everywhere. It jumps from the work at the hotel to thoughts about an ex-girlfriend or about the policies put in place by Çağlar’s uncle who is the mayor of their city.
To me, the book was hard to read. I had to push myself through more than half of the book having a hard time to keep focused on the ramblings of a teenager’s point of view on his limited world view. It mixes historical political events with fiction in a way that did not help me enter either of the worlds. I would not recommend it unless you are looking for something VERY different then your average contemporary western fiction.