Istanbul is a city of a million cells, and every cell is an Istanbul unto itself.
After a military coup, four prisoners – the doctor, Demirtay the student, Kamo the barber and Uncle Küheylan – sit below the ancient streets of Istanbul awaiting their turn at the hands of their wardens. Between violent interrogations, the condemned share parables and riddles about their beloved city to pass the time.
From their retelling of stories, both real and imagined, emerges a picture of a city that is many things to many different people. Their fears and laughter show us that there is as much hope and suffering in the city above as there is in the cells below.
Istanbul, Istanbul is a poignant and uplifting novel about the power of human imagination in the face of adversity.
‘A profoundly moving story about the transformative power of words in times of desperation’ Ece Temelkuran, author of The Insane and the Melancholy
‘A harrowing, riveting novel, as unforgettable as it is inescapable.’ Dale Peck, author of Visions and Revisions
‘A wrenching love poem to Istanbul told between torture sessions by four prisoners in their cell beneath the city. An ode to pain in which Dostoevsky meets The Decameron.’ John Ralston Saul, author of On Equilibrium; former president, PEN International
‘Ten days, ten stories and ten chapters, like Boccaccio’s Decameron… This novel will, I predict, itself become a classic.’ Rosie Goldsmith