cover image Lojman


Ebru Ojen, trans. from Turkish by Aron Aji and Selin Gökçesu. City Lights, $15.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-87286-898-4

Ojen’s intense and surreal English-language debut portrays isolation, resentment, and ambivalence in a wintertime Turkish village. Selma, 42, gives birth at home in the lojman, the teacher’s house at the edge of a remote village, in front of her children, teenage Görkem and the younger Murat. Selma’s husband, Metin, has left the house after an argument and hasn’t returned, and as winter storms keep the village cut off from the outside world, the family begins to come undone. Görkem dreams of Mahir, another missing village schoolteacher, imagining scenarios that combine sex and bloodshed. Caring for the nameless new baby falls to the sensitive Murat, as Selma, whose “desire to be free of all obligations” causes her to resent her children, begins to lose her grip on reality. Neighbors Yasin and Songül witness the family’s growing derangement but are unaware of the true level of madness building inside the lojman until it swells into a nightmarish ordeal for the village. Ojen has constructed a claustrophobic world in which the mixture of “some affection and some hatred” that can characterize family life finally spills over into a fantastically violent conclusion. This relentless narrative will stun and frighten readers in the best way. (Aug.)