“The Stone Building and Other Places” – Aslı Erdoğan (Translated by Sevinç Türkkan)

Finalist for the 2019 PEN Translation Prize!

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.

©City Light Books, 2019

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