Thickhead and Other Stories

Haldun Taner, Author Forest Books $19.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-948259-58-6
As these stories reveal, Taner's (1916-1986) forte is exploring class tensions embedded in modern Turkey's social strata. In each tale, a character strives to distinguish himself; if education fails him in this cause, he may mope, peering at the sea from a third-story window, or console himself by purchasing a fancy Russian watch. Typically wealthy, Taner's characters tend to have been educated in Germany (as was Taner), and their retention of foreign customs gives them an overblown sense of self. Taner is at his best when ironic: in ``To All Eternity,'' a man builds a home in a complex far beyond his means, discovers old stone relics but allows his prosperous neighbors to dissuade him from notifying a museum--they fear their property will lose value. In the Kafka-esque ``The Foot,'' children are spied dragging a human foot about on a string; the authorities set out to determine its original owner. While most pieces are set in Istanbul, characters and their emotions are universal, aided and abetted by a gifted translator. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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