SCENT OF SKIN by Ercan Akbay


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Akbay’s novel transcends a traditional genre to include elements of love story, crime mystery and science fiction.

In his fourth book, set in Turkey, Akbay (What Time is It, Mr Wolfe, 2009, etc.) recounts the love story between a play producer (who is never named, as it is revealed later, with good reason) and Eda, a divorced patron of the performance. The producer has had many affairs during his marriage, but recognizes quickly that this one will be different. He is infatuated with Eda but constantly questions whether she feels the same, leading to an exploration of themes such as how well one can ever know another person and the resulting insecurities that arise from suspicions of lies and secrets. The crime mystery narrative thread is established early on, but true to Akbay’s unique storytelling technique, there is the added intrigue of determining not only who is the guilty party, but also whether a crime was committed at all. Interwoven with these themes are descriptions of the producer’s “dreams” of the Sick Man, set in the future and “beyond Earth.” Akbay creates another world that, in many ways, mirrors contemporary society and the producer’s life, and these chapters serve as an analytical tool to understand the producer’s inner thoughts. These later chapters also help to tie together the seemingly disparate threads of the story. As a result, Akbay is able to weave together all of these narratives into a logical, compelling tale, in part by using more than one point of view. He writes the love story in the first person, while the science fiction chapters are written in the third person, clearly establishing settings in the different worlds.

Akbay demonstrates an adept ability to take a complicated story and craft a universal, relatable narrative.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1466323124
Page count: 421pp
Publisher: eraSMuss
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2011