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Language & Literature

Emrah Serbes: »Fragments«

Following his two »Behzat Ç.« crime novels and a short story collection called »junge verlierer« (engl. young losers – ed.), Turkish author Emrah Serbes’ new book is out now, published by Berlin publishers binooki. »Fragmente« (engl. Fragments – ed.) ruthlessly confronts the reader with real-life and tugs at the heartstrings.

»True bliss is the state of letting go, combined with a rare moment of peace in the soul.«

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The young writer, Emrah Serbes, first made a name for himself in Turkey where his crime novels about a disillusioned detective chief inspector, were successfully turned into a major television series. Both volumes of »Behzat Ç.« and a short story collection called »young losers« have since been published in Germany by Berlin publishers binooki.

»Fragmente« (turk. title, hikâyem paramparça – ed.), the latest book by the successful Turkish author, unmistakably bears Serbes‘ signature: It is ruthlessly honest and direct, and also confronts the reader with the author’s own, often melancholy, contemplations.

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Most of the texts are revised articles which Serbes wrote for the Turkish-language literature blog »Afili Filintalar« a few years ago. It is impossible not to identify with the stories of everyday life that he describes so realistically. For example, there is this man who wants to end an affair. He asks his mistress to meet him for a friendly cup of coffee the next day while he tells himself, »I hate going for coffee; I drink enough coffee at home already. The only reason I said coffee, was that I’m afraid I’ll get emotional if I drink beer and then I’ll simply end up carrying on as before … «

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The book is full of quotes and aphorisms (»It’s easy to tell a lie, but you need talent to keep it alive«), but Serbes also has his very own way of seeing the world. Absurd or not, many of his thoughts and ideas seem very familiar. After all, don’t we all wonder why »page 3« is actually on page 3 and not on some other page of the newspaper? Is it because page 2 is always folded back and doesn’t get noticed, or because page 5 is too far in the middle? Serbes finds his own answers.

»At the end of the day, there will always be a more violent juncture. There is no limit to violence in this world, or if there is, then it is set so high that we’ll never see it.«

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Social criticism is an important part of Emrah Serbes‘ work. The 35-year-old author, who was in court two years ago for insulting the Turkish Prime Minister, has become a »writer of the people« following his active participation in the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, in the summer of 2013. At that time, he reported his experiences live on-the-scene, for several TV channels. In »Fragments«, he also focuses on current issues such as ISIL and uses his short stories to encourage people to think.

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»Knowing what I know now, I’d have done things differently. But if I’d done things differently, I wouldn’t know what I know now.«

Many of Emrah Serbes’ statements in this book are so clear and straight-to-the-point that you can’t help thinking, he’s completely right. In »Fragments«, Serbes’great abilityto quickly conveya feeling of familiarity to his readerscomes to the fore.

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Serbes’ unique use of language creates a bond with his readers, which doesn’t get lost in translation; The German edition has been brilliantly translated by publisher Selma Wels, for the first time. While I was reading it, I felt like one of Emrah Serbes’ Turkish fans, who wrote this post on Facebook: »I‘ve read two of your books and I feel like I’ve known you for years … «

If you’d like this book, then why not take part in our Facebook competition? // the draw has closed. Find out who won on Twitter.

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Emrah Serbes: »Fragmente«
Translated from the Turkish by Selma Wels
180 pages, hardback
€19,90
Publication date 12.3.2015, by binooki Verlag Berlin
ISBN-978-3-943562-47-7

Credits
Text: Türkiz Talay-Dietrich
Photo: Melisa Karakuş

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