Thursday 3 March 2011

Tekin, Latife "Swords of Ice"

Tekin, Latife "Swords of Ice" (Turkish: Buzdan Kiliçlar) - 1989 

Our book club was very fortunate, not only had one of our members written her thesis about this book but we were able to talk to the author via video conference.

What is there to say? I found the following comment somewhere: "This is one of the most original books you could hope to find. Be daring and find a copy to read. You will not be disappointed." So true. A surreal book in the style of magic realism. A description of the poor man's search for richness. Halilhan, the main character, tries to open a business with a Volvo from the scrap heap.

The author knows what she is talking about, she was born into poverty, she has a great insight into the topic. Her book is a focus on the poor man's language, a try to show the relationship between man and his language, a culture and its language. According to her, language is the equipment of the authority, the possession of the rich, women, children and poor people don't have a language. Language can discriminate. We can only say what we can think and vice versa, our culture shapes our language, our language shapes our culture.

We also see that poverty is not necessary a bad thing, it's a way of life.

A very interesting novel, certainly not easy to read and understand but well worth the effort.

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2023.

From the back cover: 
"Halilhan Sunteriler, would-be entrepreneur, rescues from the scrap heap a red Volvo, which he believes will lead him to big money in business ventures. So he solicits the help of his staunch friend Gogi, the most 'cultured' man of the neighborhood, and gradually Halilhan’s two younger brothers, Hazmi and Mesut, are also drawn into the project.
With penetrating insights into the poor man’s tragicomic hunt for money in the surreal world of commerce, the final confrontation of brothers Halilhan and Hazmi provides the open end for a story of unending struggle.

We discussed this in our international book club in February 2011.


  1. This sounds really good. So cool to have one of you write a thesis on it, and talk with the author! Perfect scenario for a book club

    1. It was perfect indeed, Emma. The Turkish member who wrote the thesis had suggested it and it was great. Not just the author but also someone who knew the country and the book so well.