Each year the Yalak villagers walk down from the Taurus Mountains to harvest the cotton crop on the hot, dusty plains of Chukurova. By night, devoured by mosquitos, they sleep fitfully in rank on rank of wattle huts; by day they pick cotton. And always they imagine, invent, and gossip, spinning fantasies of conflict and romance more exciting than their grueling daily labor (""May my two eyes drop down in front of me if I'm lying""). They gossip about the ""murder"" of old Meryemdje, left alone at home by her son All: about the elevation of villager Tashbash to sainthood among the Forty Holy Men; about the tyrannical Sefer to whom no one ever speaks; about the disappearance of Shevket Bey, whose mouldering body is toted from one hiding hole to another by his obsessed killer. Capable of enormous cruelty, the villagers beat their old men and deny their saints, yet old, isolated Meryemdje learns the value of their companionship. This sweeping, compassionate novel, the third volume in a trilogy (other installments not seen here), is rich in landscape, character, and the sound of all-too-human voices, closer in effect to Kemal's quiet short stories than such florid and fevered epics as last year's They Burned the Thistles.