Monday, October 05, 2009

Maureen Freely's ENLIGHTENMENT Featured in Gently Read Literature Blog

Elaine Fowler Palencia explores "The Dirty Underbelly of one of the World's Great Cities" in this review of Maureen Freely's brilliant novel Enlightenment, now in paperback: "Like a radioactive matryoshka doll, Maureen Freely’s latest novel rises out of the Cold War history of Turkey, glowing with lethal secrets nested one inside another. To read it is to open the largest doll, then the smaller doll hidden inside it, and so on, in a search for the shape of truth.

The combination of narrative voices manifests this layered quality. A professor at the University of Warwick, Freely has published articles on Turkish politics and is the English translator of Pahmuk, who was indicted for the crime of “insulting Turkishness;” i.e., daring to mention to a reporter the “secret” of the Armenian genocide. Like M, Freely grew up in Istanbul and attended Robert College (as did Pahmuk), where her father taught. The author of several novels and nonfiction books, she writes clear, visual prose that bathes the reader in the sights and feel of Istanbul. Her well-known wit flashes amid the dark mysteries of international politics-as-usual as, with a pen dipped in irony and long-simmering indignation, she probes the dirty underbelly of one of the world’s great cities, suspended as it is between east and west, like the “Pasha’s library,” William Wakefield’s CIA lookout post above the Bosphorus. This novel will appeal to fans of thrillers and mysteries, the general literary reader, and those particularly interested in Turkish politics. A surprise but satisfying ending awaits you."

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