cover image Walking on the Ceiling

Walking on the Ceiling

Aysegül Savas. Riverhead, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-0-525-53741-0

The dislocations of place, identity, time, and truth eddy through Savas’s elegant debut. Back in her native city of Istanbul after her mother’s death, Nurunisa lives amid its constant changes while reflecting on a short but transformative period when she lived in Paris. Seeking to avoid a conventional future and a painful family past, she enrolls in a literature program there. At a bookstore reading, Nunu meets M, an older man whose English-language novels about Turkey she admires. In their emails and long walks, Nunu finds the sense of connection she has longed for. Though their bond is deep, Nunu is not entirely candid with M about the ambiguous figures who have shaped her life, at first eliding some of her most complex experiences with her father, a former writer who descended into mental illness, and her mother, Nejla, with whom she has a fraught relationship; only gradually do these stories emerge. Interweaving past and present, Paris and Istanbul, evasion and epiphany in spare yet evocative prose, Savas’s moving coming-of-age novel offers a rich exploration of intimacy, loneliness, and the endless fluidity of historical, cultural, and personal narrative. [em]Agent: Sarah Bowlin, Aevitas Creative Management. (Apr.) [/em]