By Aslı Biçen. Translated from the Turkish by Feyza Howell
‘But for that slender connection with the mainland, Andalıç would have been a regular island,’ says Aslı Biçen in the opening chapter of this deliciously multi-layered novel. And it would have been an ordinary story about love and loss, if it weren't for the earthquake that unexpectedly sets the landmass afloat on the Aegean, kindling a series of increasingly oppressive measures by the authorities; ostensibly to keep public order. As Andalıç drifts between Greece and Turkey, things get from bad to worse, until eventually our heroes, Cemal and Jülide, join the growing resistance, and even nature lends a helping hand, offering a secret underground system that plays its part in ousting the tyranny.
What starts as the realistic tale of a charming provincial town develops into a richly detailed political novel in a fantastic setting. Biçen’s dreamy language weaves a flowing style that transports the reader into every nook and cranny of Andalıç and the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean; her metaphors are imaginative, her observations insightful, and her descriptions melodious.
". . . part political thriller, part love story, part comic opera, and part commentary on post-coup Turkey, all wrapped up in a most elegant, witty, and understated style. . . For English readers, Aslı Biçen is a very happy discovery. Once started, Snapping Point is difficult to put down. It is easily one of the most complex, funny, captivating, beautifully written political thrillers I have ever read. I plan to read it again next week, after Friday Prayers."
Michael Tate, LA Review of Books
"I was reminded of Orhan Pamuk’s Snow reading this book. The premise is ultimately the same, minus the speculative element of the floating island. They are both about a community’s underlying tensions flaring up once it is cut off from the outside world. However, where the difference emergeds is that the tensions in Snow are about the ideological split within Turkish society at large. However, the fault lines within Snapping Point are much more to do with petty corruption and backbiting amongst the police and municipal administration that lurch towards fascism as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Both are important and relevant perspectives on the nature of political life in Turkey."
Luke Frostick, Bosphorus Review of Books
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