I am happy to learn that Oguz Atay's masterpiece -Tutunamayanlar- (The ones who cannot cling) will be translated to English after 45 years of its original publication. The prominent publishing house, Oneworld, will publish the book, entitled as -The Disconnected-. It is pity that Oguz Atay has never seen the success of his book. The book has generated special interest and been praised after his death in 1977. Tutunamayanlar is an eminent example of modern Turkish literature unraveling the tragedy of human being. The language experiment of Oguz Atay makes the book a revolution in literature. Those short but disturbing texts in different genres in the book follow sometimes a 70-page length sentence without a single comma or full point. Considering his idiosyncratic style, he can compete with James Joyce or Virginia Woolf.
The readers learn the life and agony of Selim Işık in the book through the narrative of Turgut Özben who is Selim’s soul mate from the university. Both studied civil engineering, but they lost their contact. However, Turgut wakes up one morning and reads the news of Selim Işık’s suicide in the paper. He is shocked by the news and then he starts a journey to delve into the mysterious reason that encouraged Selim for suicide. In this journey, Turgut and his inner voice, Olric, expose the disturbing parcels of life to the reader. Turgut meets with Selim’s family and friends and reads the diaries written by Selim. The more Turgut spends efforts to enter Selim’s world, the more he discovers different characters created by Selim because Selim had diverse social networks and played a different person in each network while keeping these networks intentionally seperated. Turgut’s journey, thus, stimulates him to question his own life and everyday practices.
I translated some of the sentences from the book to English below and I am very much looking forward to reading its English translation.
“Committing suicide…not because of having a reason for this act, but because of having only one reason in life, because of everything that was lived for. Some people have this character. They are more fragile than the others. They carry the death like a bag on their back and when they are tired, first they open the bag.”
“-Do you know Olric what is a human being?
-The one who cuts a tree down and produces papers from it and then writes on those papers not to cut the trees down.”
“- Shall we remain silent Olric?
-What is going to change our Lord, if you speak?
-Let’s remain silent once more our Lord
- Keeping silent sometimes looks like broken glasses Olric!!! It fills in your mouth. If you remain silent, it hurts you; if you speak, it makes you bleed…Let’s remain silent once more Olric.”