Aslı Biçen tells us a semi-fantastic story that takes place in an
imaginary town, which "would have been a regular island, but
for that slender connection with the mainland."
The story develops around three main characters, two of them
human: Gentle, mild-mannered grocer Cemal, who spent the
past two decades searching for his missing father around the
country, and Jülide, an orphaned schoolgirl, whose serenity
conceals an extraordinary control over inanimate objects. The
third is the peninsula itself, remarkable for more than the slim-
mest of isthmuses. This peculiar landmass is shaped like a dual
cone, rising to a peak above the town, but unbeknownst to all,
tapering below the waterline, the iceberg of pumice stone an-
chored by an equally slender neck.
Cemal is getting ready to marry his childhood sweetheart, as
Jülide prepares to free herself from her increasingly controlling
boyfriend. The one thing Cemal and Jülide share is their appar-
Prompted by incontrovertible proof of his father's duplicity and
his widow's pleadings, Cemal sets off for Istanbul to deliver his
half-sister from the clutches of her pimp. Jülide's part-time
work at the local newspaper begins to open her eyes to politics.
Cemile, the half-sister, returns home and promptly begins an
unashamedly overt affair with the local police chief. The mere
idea of marriage (and children) begins to strain Cemal's affec-
tionate fiancée. Jülide breaks up with Erkan, only to discover
he's determined not to let her go. Muzaffer, the editor of the
local paper, finds herself in hot water for her investigative work
on corruption. Cemile's former pimp joins the ranks of stalkers
in the town.
A bizarre earthquake unexpectedly sets the landmass afloat on
the Aegean, kindling a series of increasingly oppressive
measures by the authorities, ostensibly to keep public order. As
Andal›ç drifts between Greece and Turkey, and life becomes
ever more intolerable for the inhabitants, Cemal and Jülide
eventually summon their own resolve and join the growing re-
sistance. Even nature ultimately lends a helping hand, offering
a secret underground system that plays its part in ousting the
What begins as the realistic tale of a 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 Andal›ç and into the
crystal clear waters of the Aegean; her metaphors are im-
aginative, observations insightful, and descriptions melodious.
The title alludes to a Turkish idiom that means "let it go". If
something has worn away sufficiently to snap off, it may be
better to let it go. This is true of physical geography as it is of
The most pertinent manifestation, however, lies in the refusal
of outwardly diffident characters to keep bending indefinitely:
even the gentlest of persons can only be pushed so far, and no
-Sample translation available.