Friday, 10 February 2012

Kemal, Yaşar "The Birds Have Also Gone"

Kemal, Yaşar "The Birds Have Also Gone" (Turkish: Kuşlar da Gitti) - 1978

Even though the title of this book talks about the birds only, this short novel is about the boys who catch them. Apparently, in Turkey, people would buy birds from kids who caught them and give them back their freedom in order for them to fly to paradise and there wait for them.

But times are changing, people are not religious any more, they don't buy the birds, so the boys are losing their business.

An interesting story not just about the boys from Istanbul but about the ever changing times, the shattering of dreams, and about the streets of Istanbul. A colourful city, very well described in the story told by a narrator who appears in the story himself, who tries to help the boys.

This book strongly represents the oriental side of literature. Highly recommendable.

From the back cover:

"There is an ancient Turkish tradition that promises the person who frees a small bird a place in paradise. Three boys set up a business of catching birds to enable people to free them, but city people are now sceptical and tragedy lies in wait for the boys. The author also wrote 'Memed, My Hawk'."

I also read "The Drumming-Out", just as interesting.

Yaşar Kemal received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friedenspreis) in 1997.


  1. Replies
    1. He's not even very well known in Germany where we see a lot of Turkish authors. But he's definitely an interesting author.