Vivid stories from one of Turkey’s most admired contemporary female authors, whose political activism has made her the target of state persecution.
“Aslı Erdoğan is an exceptionally perceptive and sensitive writer who always produces perfect literary texts.”—Orhan Pamuk
“Now, as her fame grows, her books have been selling more, and her [Turkish] publisher has issued new printings. One volume of short stories, The Stone Building and Other Places, has become a best seller in Turkey.”––The New York Times
“Beautifully written and honestly told, as tender as the tulip gardens of Istanbul and as brave as the human heart.”—Elif Shafak
“Three interconnected stories feature women whose lives have been interrupted by forces beyond their control. Exile, serious illness, or the imprisonment of one’s beloved are each met with versions of strength and daring, while there is no undoing what fate has wrought. These atmospheric, introspective tales culminate in an experimental, multi-voiced novella, whose “stone building” is a metaphor for the various oppressive institutions—prisons, police HQs, hospitals and psychiatric asylums—that dominate the lives of all of these characters. Here is a literary distillation of the alienation, helplessness, and controlled fury of exile and incarceration—both physical and mental—presented in a series of moving, allegorical portraits of lives ensnared by the structures of power.
Aslı Erdoğan (Istanbul, 1967) is a renowned, prize-winning author, journalist, and human rights activist whose fiction has been translated into many languages. She has published novels, collections of short stories and poetic prose, and selections from her political essays. As a journalist, she has covered controversial topics such as state violence, discrimination, and human rights, for which she has been persecuted in a variety of ways.
Erdoğan was imprisoned for four months by the Turkish government in a sweeping roundup of dissident voices after the failed coup attempt of July 2016. The subject of both PEN International and PEN America advocacy campaigns, she was released from prison in late December 2016” (City Lights Books, 2019).
“The Stone Building by Aslı Erdoğan appears at first glance to be a collection of three short stories and a novella. In fact it is a literary text with a single unifying and sad theme: confinement. Erdoğan is a most original and courageous literary voice, and The Stone Building bears on what is going on in present day Turkey.”—Daniel Beaumont, author of Preachin’ the Blues: The Life and Music of Son House
“It is very difficult, and often impossible, to bring the music of Turkish into English. It is all the more difficult when the author-under-translation writes subtle and sinuous prose that stretches the conventions of literary Turkish to its limits. So, what a pleasure it is to see Sevinç Türkkan achieving the almost impossible. Not only does she do justice to Aslı Erdoğan’s prose. She makes it sing.”—Maureen Freely, translator
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2017 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE & WINNER OF ENGLISH PEN AWARD
‘A journey to the end of the night for 20/21st century Germany. Meyer reworks Döblin and Céline into a modern epic prose film with endless tracking shots of the gash of urban life, bought flesh and the financial transaction (the business of sex); memory as unspooling corrupted tape; journeys as migrations, as random as history and its splittings. A shimmering cast threatens to fly from the page, leaving only a revenant’s dream – sky, weather, lights-on-nobody-home, buried bodies, night rain. What new prose should be and rarely is; Meyer rewrites the rules to produce a great hallucinatory channel-surfer of a novel.’
— Chris Petit
‘This is a wonderfully insightful, frank, exciting and heart-breaking read. Bricks and Mortar is like diving into a Force 10 gale of reality, full of strange voices, terrible events and a vision of neoliberal capitalism that is chillingly accurate.’
— A. L. Kennedy
‘The point of Bricks and Mortar is that nothing’s “in stone”: Clemens Meyer’s novel reads like a shifty, corrupted collocation of .docs, lifted off the laptop of a master genre-ist and self-reviser. It’s required reading for fans of the Great Wolfgangs (Hilbig and Koeppen), and anyone interested in casual gunplay, drug use, or sex.’
— Joshua Cohen
“Bricks and Mortar is the story of the sex trade in a big city in the former GDR, from just before 1989 to the present day, charting the development of the industry from absolute prohibition to full legality in the twenty years following the reunification of Germany. The focus is on the rise and fall of one man from football hooligan to large-scale landlord and service- provider for prostitutes to, ultimately, a man persecuted by those he once trusted. But we also hear other voices: many different women who work in prostitution, their clients, small-time gangsters, an ex-jockey searching for his drug-addict daughter, a businessman from the West, a girl forced into child prostitution, a detective, a pirate radio presenter…
In his most ambitious book to date, Clemens Meyer pays homage to modernist, East German and contemporary writers like Alfred Döblin, Wolfgang Hilbig and David Peace but uses his own style and almost hallucinatory techniques. Time shifts and stretches, people die and come to life again, and Meyer takes his characters seriously and challenges his readers in this dizzying eye-opening novel that also finds inspiration in the films of Russ Meyer, Takashi Miike, Gaspar Noé and David Lynch.
Clemens Meyer was born 1977 in Halle and lives in Leipzig. After high school he jobbed as a watchman, building worker and removal man. He studied creative writing at the German Literary Institute, Leipzig and was granted a scholarship by the Saxon Ministry of Science and Arts in 2002. His first novel, Als wir träumten, was a huge success and for his second book, Die Nacht, die Lichter, a collection of short stories, he was awarded the Leipzig Book Fair Prize 2008. Bricks and Mortar, his latest novel, was shortlisted for the German Book Prize and was awarded the Bremer Literaturpreis 2014.
Katy Derbyshire, originally from London, has lived in Berlin for twenty years. She translates contemporary German writers including Inka Parei, Dorothee Elmiger, Simon Urban, Annett Gröschner and Christa Wolf. Her translation of Clemens Meyer’s Die Nacht, die Lichter was published as All the Lights by And Other Stories in 2011.She occasionally teaches translation and also co-hosts a monthly translation lab and the bi-monthly Dead Ladies Show.”