Simple country folk interact with the land and each other in this flawed debut.
The title story opens with Salim, a hard-working coalminer who’s purchasing a large farm in an unspoiled valley. The land turns out to be exceptionally fertile, and Salim’s success impresses the valley’s other residents, including beautiful, young Selma and her father, Fevzi. Fevzi and Selma are in a bind–Fevzi’s ranch is failing, and the bank is foreclosing. Generous Salim invites Fevzi and Selma to build a cabin on his farm, and the two move in, along with their steward, the elderly Sinan. Though it is obvious that Salim and Selma are made for each other, Selma is too demure and Salim too focused on his work to do anything about it. While Sinan and Fevzi fret over this, rich and evil Kadir Toprak moves into the valley, bringing with him a vendetta against Salim–the author fails to convince why–and eyes for Selma. However, in a decidedly undramatic showdown, Selma chooses Salim. Part two moves several decades forward. The valley has grown, a town incorporated. Salim is an old man and Kadir is dead, never having recovered from Selma’s spurning. Kadir’s son is now the town’s mayor, and he plans to build a railroad through the valley. There is one niggling detail: The railroad will bisect Salim’s farm. The rest of the novel traces the railroad installation and Salim’s act of revenge, but the story, which isn’t intriguing to begin with, is further hampered by relentless clichÃ© and cardboard characters (several aren’t even given names, simply known as â€œThe Mayor,” â€œThe Shopkeeper,” etc.). The same deficiencies abound in the accompanying short stories–faux-philosophical vignettes about characters traveling roads of a mythic landscape–and are underscored by the author’s shaky command of English–the garbled prose and incorrect word usage makes much of the book difficult to read, if not completely incomprehensible.
Full of clichÃ©s and poor writing.