Happy is the one who has no family!


Şebnem İşigüzel shined with “Hanene Ay Doğacak” which was thought to be written by a famous author with a false name. Throughout the 17 years that passed by she carried on with her writing carreer with novels, one beautiful than the other. As it is said in the foreign sourced compliment at the end cover of her last novel “Kirpiklerimin Gölgesi” (İletişim Yayınları); “it is clear that Şebnem İşigüzel has a place in the European literature history”. İşigüzel truly came to this world to write. Her being a writer born in the year 1973 is a separate gift besides her talent that shines more and more in each and every of her novels. Earnestly, one wonders what she will tell us as her age progreses.


“Kirpiklerimin Gölgesi” is written from an 11 years old little girl’s point of view. The story is tragic. The novel starts with the sentence “I killed my  mother.” The end of it finishes with a surprise that turns in to a writing show. The story of the abused child hero pulls on the heartstrings. It looks like the author felt that it is hard to talk from an 11 years old girls’s point of view at the begining. How much she simplifies, purifies the sentences, sometimes the voice of the writer gets in to the novel but İşigüzel makes the sorrowful child, whose story she tells, say such things that she manages to convince the reader. Towards the end of the novel she does her amazing trick: She makes her hero say that she has read a book called “Hanene Ay Doğacak”, alongside the complaints of the librarian lady; “Which lunatic put that book here...”  Than the hero mumbles this sentence for the writer of the book : “She must have been a child like me at a time.” İşigüzel’s success is right here. She is one of the writers who always outwits her reader. But this turns into a handicap that doesn’t make her popular no matter how exciting or gripping she writes.


The suffering of the “little girl”


Besides Şebnem İşigüzel has a strong hand on being a popular writer. As I witnessed at the reading session in Germany, Frankfurt Literature House and as criticised by the main newspapers of Germany; she is a writer with a light, who can give effective speeches and has a strong communication.  However, Şebnem İşigüzel being a writer who maimtains her mystery all the time looks like a conscious choice. She is not a recluse but never a writer that can be reached easily!


Without a doubt for those who read literature through the books that media points out, there will always be the curiosity of “How much the writer experiences what she writes?” It is certain that the little girl in “Kirpiklerimin Gölgesi” who evidently experiences sexual assault has nothing to do with the writer, but it is very brave to create a little girl; who is desperate, defenseless, who the school janitors “did” on fishing boats, and put her into words. The birth at a toilet at the chapter “Little Girl Helps a Baby to Come to World” is hair raising. Likewise, the chapter in which the little girl is kept in a house to which men who very much like little children come and go is bloodcurdling. Apart from that it is a sweet surprise that “Kirpiklerimin Gölgesi” progresses on religous symbols and parables, moreover that it resembles a small religious book with its chapter titles. At that point the question to be asked can be if the protoganist of the novel can be the prophet of her time.

 “Kirpiklerimin Gölgesi” has a strong political attitude with the objection to the oath which starts like “I’m Turkish, I’m truthful”, the chapter which brings the great destruction that Armenians experienced in 1915 in mind with the memories of the granny who is old as the mountain, the references to the nationalist youngsters of today and Atatürk’s love for children, the Atatürk fans who hang his posters even on the gully covers, the “independent soldier” who tortures the little girl with his dogs. But this is fictionalised so skillfully that it doesn’t hurt the story of the little girl who has experienced the abuse which is told. Just like in the chapter the great destruction is told, the character, who is described as old as the dump wells of the town, tells the sorrows that the society put on to women and children over the thrilling massacre. The novel rises more and more by the less but essential things the character who we meet in the Child Whore House and who has played a role in “the hell of the motherland”  says.

 So many things are skillfully placed in the 160 paged novel that one is astounded, like the little literature play in the chapter “Little Girl is not Scared Any More”. There is never a chaos exposed. İşigüzel succeeds to put everything in order.

 It is certain that the writer, who says “My novels leave me the way they are read. I start and finish. It is weird but it is like that” in one of her interviews, has very strong intuitions. This gives her the bravery and power to tell the main problems of humankind in melencholy and compassion. Hanene Ay Doğacak, Eski Dostum Kertenkele, Sarmaşık, Çöplük, Resmigeçit, Kirpiklerimin Gölgesi and tens of beautiful Radikal İki articals that are stuck in my mind even with the title “You don’t have a family”...  Şebnem İşigüzel could have existed even if she had written only one of those and disapeared. As a Turkish person who has born, raised, studied, worked in Germany and who looks at you from a distance; I bow with respect before this rebellious and beautiful girl of Turkish literature whose novels deserve to be talked more about.