The Time of Mute Swans

A Novel

Translated by Kenneth Dakan
LIST PRICE $25.99
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About The Book

This timely, bestselling novel about a military coup in Turkey, told through the eyes of two children, resonates deeply with events there today.

Ankara, the capital city in the heart of Turkey at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, East and West, is a hotspot in the Cold War, torn between communism and conservatism, Western freedoms and traditional ways, with an army fearful of democracy and a government that employs thugs and torture to enforce law and order. In the summer of 1980, tensions are building. Homes of the poor are being burnt down. Armed revolutionaries on college campuses battle right-wings militias in the city's neighborhoods. The lines between good and bad, right and wrong, and beautiful and ugly are blurred by shed blood.

Two children, one from a family living in misery and one well-off, form an alliance amid the turmoil. Through their senses, the cityscape unfolds its wonders, its rich smells and colors, as they try to make sense of the events swirling around them. And they hatch a plan. For the first time in generations, mute swans have migrated from Russia to the Black Sea and to a park at the center of Ankara. For the generals, they are an affirmation, and their wings must be broken so they can't fly away. But if the children can save one swan, won't they have saved the freedom of all?

About The Author

<div>Ece Temelkuran, one of Turkey’ s best-known novelists and political commentators, was a prominent investigative journalist before her controversial explorations of Kurdish and Armenian issues led to her dismissal. The author of the nonfiction works <i>Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy</i> and <i>Deep Mountain: Across the Turkish-Armenian Divide</i>, she has been a visiting fellow at Oxford and delivered the Freedom Lecture as a guest of Amnesty International and the Prince Claus Foundation. In the United States, she has contributed op-eds and articles to the <i>New York Times</i>, the <i>Guardian</i>, <i>LitHub</i>, and <i>Bookforum</i> and was a featured panelist at the 2017 Women in the World Summit. Her novel <em>The Women Who Blow on Knots,/em> won the 2017 Edinburgh Festival First Book Award. Her books have been published in nineteen countries, She lives in Istanbul and Zagreb. <BR></div>

Product Details

  • Publisher: Arcade (November 7, 2017)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781628728149

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Raves and Reviews

"

“Who knew they still wrote books like this? Gloriously immersive, filled with details of family life, childhood and love that had me in tears. Epic and miniature; funny and terrifying; it’s everything I want in a book. What a lucky reader to pick this up!”—Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli and Less

"[The Time of Mute Swans] moves skillfully between history and fiction. . . . Set in Ankara in the tense summer leading up to the Turkish coup of 1980, this novel centers on two children . . . who contend with the strife of the adult world. . . . The end of [their] innocence is vividly evoked.”—The New Yorker

"Street battles, kidnapping, torture, fascists, communists, rocky marriages, and class tensions—and most of it seen through the eyes of two eight-year-old children living in Ankara.—The New York Times Book Review

“The children in The Time of Mute Swans notice a great deal that their troubled elders miss, and though their understanding is often incomplete, their insights are compelling. Like tiles in a Turkish mosaic, their observations fit together to create a vivid picture of the impact of political conflict on individuals, families, and communities.” —Jean Hegland, author of Into the Forest and Still Time

"Controversial Turkish journalist and novelist Temelkuran . . . reimagines one of Turkey’s darkest times with hope for its future."—Booklist

“In the amnesiac liberal understanding of Turkey, the crisis is sudden, of recent vintage. But it has roots in the rise and fall of Turkey’s left, from which Temelkuran’s writing draws much of its strength. . . . Narrated in turn by two children, The Time of Mute Swans acts as a kind of inverted young adult work: it portrays the world of its child narrators not as the dramatic and limitless truth of the shallow repressions of adults, but rather the seriousness of the adult political world as it might appear to children, mistranslated and experienced anew.”—William Harris, n + 1

The Time of Mute Swans provides the opening scene of the movie we're now living." —Hürriyet Daily News (Turkey}

"This novel creates a lump in your throat when you can't decide whether to laugh or cry."—Diken (Turkey)

"Have you ever heard people laugh as if birds were flying out of their mouths? Or thought about how alive objects can be? Everything seems possible in Ece Temelkuran's latest. . . . Those who are not familiar with Turkish history, will learn a lot about this dark era. . . .[A] wonderful novel." —Mine Krause, Turkish Literature Blog

"The novel is not only a personal archaeology of its author but also proposes an extraordinary way to remember the past for the reader." —Haberturk e-newspaper (Turkey)

"The Time of Mute Swans has all the richness and the secret poetica of the Turkish language. A flawless novel with many layers." —Oya Baydar, author of The Lost World

"Ece Temelkuran has written a modern fairy tale and has packed her own story, the present, and the endless tragedy of Turkey into a elegant . . . novel." — Neues Deutschland (Germany)

"Reading The Time of Mute Swans is like looking through a kaleidoscope. . . . From the individual fragments, the portrait emerges of a country that has been in politically exceptional conditions for decades." — Die Wochenzeitung (Germany)

"A poetic and at the same time political novel whose naïve-realistic narration captivates."— Der Bund (Germany)

"Ece Temelkuran is one of the most important voices of contemporary Turkish literature."—Deutschlandradio Kultur (Germany)

"The Turkish author Ece Temelkuran combines elaborate research with a poetic vision in her novel Time of the Mute Swans and draws a picture of her country that is always surprising." — SRF (Germany)

"

“Who knew they still wrote books like this? Gloriously immersive, filled with details of family life, childhood and love that had me in tears. Epic and miniature; funny and terrifying; it’s everything I want in a book. What a lucky reader to pick this up!”—Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli and Less

"[The Time of Mute Swans] moves skillfully between history and fiction. . . . Set in Ankara in the tense summer leading up to the Turkish coup of 1980, this novel centers on two children . . . who contend with the strife of the adult world. . . . The end of [their] innocence is vividly evoked.”—The New Yorker

"Street battles, kidnapping, torture, fascists, communists, rocky marriages, and class tensions—and most of it seen through the eyes of two eight-year-old children living in Ankara.—The New York Times Book Review

“The children in The Time of Mute Swans notice a great deal that their troubled elders miss, and though their understanding is often incomplete, their insights are compelling. Like tiles in a Turkish mosaic, their observations fit together to create a vivid picture of the impact of political conflict on individuals, families, and communities.” —Jean Hegland, author of Into the Forest and Still Time

"Controversial Turkish journalist and novelist Temelkuran . . . reimagines one of Turkey’s darkest times with hope for its future."—Booklist

“In the amnesiac liberal understanding of Turkey, the crisis is sudden, of recent vintage. But it has roots in the rise and fall of Turkey’s left, from which Temelkuran’s writing draws much of its strength. . . . Narrated in turn by two children, The Time of Mute Swans acts as a kind of inverted young adult work: it portrays the world of its child narrators not as the dramatic and limitless truth of the shallow repressions of adults, but rather the seriousness of the adult political world as it might appear to children, mistranslated and experienced anew.”—William Harris, n + 1

The Time of Mute Swans provides the opening scene of the movie we're now living." —Hürriyet Daily News (Turkey}

"This novel creates a lump in your throat when you can't decide whether to laugh or cry."—Diken (Turkey)

"Have you ever heard people laugh as if birds were flying out of their mouths? Or thought about how alive objects can be? Everything seems possible in Ece Temelkuran's latest. . . . Those who are not familiar with Turkish history, will learn a lot about this dark era. . . .[A] wonderful novel." —Mine Krause, Turkish Literature Blog

"The novel is not only a personal archaeology of its author but also proposes an extraordinary way to remember the past for the reader." —Haberturk e-newspaper (Turkey)

"The Time of Mute Swans has all the richness and the secret poetica of the Turkish language. A flawless novel with many layers." —Oya Baydar, author of The Lost World

"Ece Temelkuran has written a modern fairy tale and has packed her own story, the present, and the endless tragedy of Turkey into a elegant . . . novel." — Neues Deutschland (Germany)

"Reading The Time of Mute Swans is like looking through a kaleidoscope. . . . From the individual fragments, the portrait emerges of a country that has been in politically exceptional conditions for decades." — Die Wochenzeitung (Germany)

"A poetic and at the same time political novel whose naïve-realistic narration captivates."— Der Bund (Germany)

"Ece Temelkuran is one of the most important voices of contemporary Turkish literature."—Deutschlandradio Kultur (Germany)

"The Turkish author Ece Temelkuran combines elaborate research with a poetic vision in her novel Time of the Mute Swans and draws a picture of her country that is always surprising." — SRF (Germany)

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