Hasan Ali Toptas exquisitely weaves an enigmatic, mystical tale of memory and identity, displacement and belonging
`I'm a barber,' he said. `I come from afar. Across lands already forgotten...'
In an Anatolian village forgotten both by God and the government, the muhtar has been elected leader for the sixteenth successive year. When he staggers to bed that night, drunk on raki and his own well-deserved success, the village is prosperous. But when he is woken by his wife the next evening he discovers that Nuri, the barber, has disappeared without a trace in the dead of night, and the community begins to fracture.
In a nameless town far, far away, Nuri walks into a barbershop as if from a dream, not knowing how he has arrived. Try as he might, he cannot grasp the strands of his memory. The facts of his past life shift and evade him, and as other customers come and go, they too struggle to recall how they got there...
Blurring the lines of reality to terrific effect, Shadowless is both a compelling mystery and an enduring evocation of displacement from one of the finest, most exciting voices in Turkish literature today.
Hasan Ali Toptas is one of Turkey's leading writers. His novels have won the Cankaya Literature Prize, the Culture Ministry Prize, the Yunus Nadi Novel Prize, the Cevdet Kudret Literature Prize, the Orhan Kemal Novel Prize and the Turkish Writers' Union Great Novel Prize. His novels have been translated into Dutch, French, Finnish, Swedish, German and Korean, and Shadowless, first published in 1995, was adapted for film in 2008. Hasan Ali Toptas now lives in Ankara. Maureen Freely is a novelist and journalist who contributes to the Guardian and the Independent. She translated Orhan Pamuk's recent novels from Turkish into English. She grew up in Turkey and now lives in England. John Angliss won the inaugural British Council's Young Translators' Prize for prose in 2012. He lives in Ankara.