englishpen.org - Peter Holland - September 2011


The Idle Years by Orhan Kemal


The Idle Years by Orhan Kemal

Translated by Cengiz Lugal


Review from Beeston Library:


I enjoyed the background of 1920s Turkey but felt the book lacked depth and the narration was disjointed in places. The ending was inconclusive and the story raises many unanswered questions - e.g. who was Master Izzet and why does he disappear? The narrator stopped being lovable about half way through and I grew increasingly irritated by his passive attitude, his inability to tell the truth and his tendency to take the easy way out in every dilemma. He reminded me of Pinocchio, he is never reconciled with his father and never really grows up!

I don't think Kemal deserves the comparison with Dickens on the back cover of the book - he lacks the scope, the moral dimension and the depth of character portrayal - though to be fair, I have only read these two novels by him.

S. Beharall


Excellent read - easy, full of life, revealing of Turkey in interwar period

Peter Holland