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Memed My Hawk Paperback – November 5, 1990
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"Some books are so famous they need no introduction. But have you ever read Yashar Kemal? His first novel, Memed, My Hawk (NYRB Classics), set in the south-east of Turkey and about a young man at war with feudal authority, was published in the 1950s and brought him international fame. It is still greatly loved in Turkey, and with good reason." --The Guardian
“Yashar Kemal is one of those writers who is content with the patch of earth allotted by birth. As in the case of Faulkner, Akhmatova, or even Joyce, all the events described circle around the site of an early injury. These writers evoke landscapes containing people who, however lost they may be in their marginal existences, fix their gaze upon the center of the world and take up residence there. [Kemal is driven to] write against the age and to tell those stories that have not been elevated to the status of affairs of state because they deal with people who never sat on high, who did not dominate but rather were themselves dominated.”—Günter Grass
“Yashar Kemal is a thousand kilometres tall and can make a story of two stones tender and spellbinding. A master.”—John Berger
“A beautiful and passionate book . . . in the tradition which gave us Dr Zhivago and The Leopard.” —Glasgow Herald
“A tale that assumes epic proportions and gathers speed to rush to a spectacular climax.” -- Daily Telegraph
"A beautiful novel in the old, glorious tradition of heroic storytelling." —Scotsman
"Follows in that tradition of strong, simple novels about the life of the peasantry. It has that insider's feeling for man, the oppressed, labouring animal . . . you might find in Tolstoy, Hardy or Silone. The author never loses his freshness, an ability to pick on details as though seen for the first time." —Guardian
"Yashar Kemal achieves the Russian quality — an intimacy of detail which makes his etching indelible, more selected, and therefore more obvious than life . . . The book is a small, sharp, moving epic of the Turkish soil." —Sunday Telegraph
"A masterpiece." —Robert Carver, New Statesman
“A remarkable novel, reminiscent of Hardy in its power and scope.” —Queen
“The sense of heroism, the animal tenderness, the marvelous feeling for the land, and the intuitive narrative rythm give the book raw vitality and pure immediacy.” -- Saturday Review
“Exciting, rushing, lyrical, a complete and subtle emotional experience.” -- The Chicago Sun-Times
“A folk hero worthy to rank with Robin Hood.” -- The New York Times
“Here again is that directness and that fierce poetry which one knew in the old heroic stories, and a hero in whom one can have such faith and trust that one can bear to read his torments knowing that he is strong enough to endure them. It is a beautiful and passionate book. It has been ably translated, and it is well in the Harvill tradition which gave us Dr Zhivago and The Leopard.” --- Glasgow Herald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
"Yashar Kemal is one of those writers who is content with the patch of earth allotted by birth. As in the case of Faulkner, Akhmatova, or even Joyce, all the events described circle around the site of an early injury. These writers evoke landscapes containing people who, however lost they may be in their marginal existences, fix their gaze upon the center of the world and take up residence there. [Kemal is driven to] write against the age and to tell those stories that have not been elevated to the status of affairs of state because they deal with people who never sat on high, who did not dominate but rather were themselves dominated." Günter Grass --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Memed, My Hawk, Kemal’s most famous work, was first published in 1955. It is an intense, intricately woven, often emotional yarn set among the remote villages, forests and mountains of Southwest Turkey a century or so ago. Its inhabitants, a largely illiterate and ignorant peasantry, still live under an ancient feudal system dominated by corrupt and brutal local tyrants. Their sentiments are swept backwards and forwards by irrational waves of gossip, piety, superstition, rumor, lies and obfuscation.
It is a fast paced, gripping and suspenseful story. Yet underlying it is a profound meditation on good and evil and their impact on a society. Good characters and bad characters emerge within the labyrinthine plot. Some are brave and some poltroonish. Some combine these characteristics or switch between them. A few triumph, a greater number perish.
In the impoverished and isolated communities of that era, life and death existed in close parallel. Often they intertwined, as did good and evil. The erratic and unexpected twists and turns of each defined the lives of the peasant villagers. These forces also etched the fate of the story’s hero, Slim Memed, an idealistic and heroic young man driven into the mountains and a life of brigandry by the savage cruelty of a mendacious local chieftain.
Memed, My Hawk has come to be regarded as a classic. I doubt that it is possible to define precisely what constitutes a classic novel. But I also believe that few who read this book will not find it belongs in that rarified category.
"No matter how limited a man's field of vision, his imagination knows no bounds. A man who has never been outside his village of Deyirmenoluk can still create a whole imaginary world that can reach as far as the stars. Without travelling, a man can penetrate to the other end of the world. Even without much imagination the place where he dwells can become different in his dreams, a true paradise." P.77
So, go. Read and Dream!