Every Fire You Tend by Sema Kaygusuz (tr. Nicholas Glastonbury)

every fire we tend cover with sterile room and plant shadows, in front of my plant

a nutshell: an unnamed narrator tells many varied stories to a silent woman – tales that stretch across thousands of years, including repeated encounters with the figure Hızır – inspired by the brutal events in 1938 when the Turkish Republic launched an operation to erase an entire community of Zaza-speaking Alevi Kurds

a line: “Every move you make cracks open the husk of a memory hidden inside me”

an image: Kaygusuz conjures many beautiful images, including a musing on the white-heat beauty of hope that you’ve been born elsewhere – she describes how you become a fruit rid of its peel, a honeyed thing, ready to be bitten into

a thought: throughout this novel, Kaygusuz is a self-aware narrator – she writes that despite her “authorly audacity” she still worried about you

a fact: the author’s own grandmother, an exile from Dersim, often told stories but never spoke of what she saw while fleeing the Turkish army’s massacre

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