The Lamppost Diary

Agop J Hacikyan, Author, A J Hacikyan, Author
Agop J. Hacikyan. Interlink, $15 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-56656-855-5
Reviewed on: 05/09/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
This middling coming-of-age tale from the popular Turkish-Canadian author Hacikyan (A Summer Without Dawn) follows adolescent Tomas across WWII Istanbul. Phalluses are the key to this adolescence, and we spend much time with Tomas's bouboul, viewing its circumcision, its early arousal, its wet dreams, and, of course, its first coitus. When not providing summaries of Tomas's sexual awakening, the book delves into the outcry caused by the heavy and racist taxes levied to finance the war, the antics of Tomas and his friends, and the vagaries of Tomas's parents' marriage. At length the book develops a plot surrounding Tomas and his longtime sweetheart, Anya, who moves to post-war America, but it has already long overstayed its welcome. Despite promising material, this picaresque has neither narrative momentum nor interesting characters, while the writing is mostly notable for unappetizing imagery ("her absence, like a malignant tumour, filled Tomas's heart"). (July)
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