BUSINESS CHANEL TV “Between Sessions” program
July 30, 2007
The Wings of Israfel is your first novel but you also have a professional business life
Yes, I am working as sales and marketing director since 10 years. But my authorship, goes even far back to very past years. I was keen on literature in junior and senior high school days. Then I have started to write some literary works during my university. But this year all my amateur efforts on literature had slipped into a professional channel by releasing of my first novel. I am happy to add my hobby seriously to my directorship.
We will come to the content of the novel but can somebody who has written a novel and had it published be regarded as a novelist or does he consider himself as an author?
He is certainly regarded as an author. But this depends on your point of view and also on the work he created. In fact, it is not easy for an author to give judgement for his own position. You need an outer observation for this.
The Wings of Israfel is in fact a mystic novel. Your starting point was an Anatolian myth before you began this novel. How did you create the concept of the novel? How did you fictionalize it starting from this myth? What was your main idea? What has taken you there?
I had a fiction in my mind very similar to this theme before I started. My criterion was this: What type of theme I would like to read. Something gripping, engrossing, provoking, informative and entertaining… When I intend to start with these criterions I have remembered this less known tale which is told in Anatolia. I have heard of it only once. To my surprise the existence of such a mysterious book, read from four directions, placed in the book collection of an Ottoman pasha is told in Anatolia, but I didn’t know it before I heard of this tale. This story reminded me the myth of famous Lokman Hekim in Adana. Lokman Hekim’s notes consist of the elixir of immortality, but then the notes get lost. Naturally the novel has progressed on a different path starting from this myth. I have enriched the theme with different characters and The Wings of Israfel came up.
Is this a novel which contains the answers of all the secrets inside?
Let me not to tell anything about whether it contains the answers of the secrets or not. Let’s leave this to the readers. Otherwise I disclose the secrets. Let them stay secret.
You have fictionalized this less known Anatolian tale. But this novel also goes to 1905s in Istanbul, to Kuzguncuk and tells us about many different beliefs and cultures. Church is on a side, synagogue is on the other and so the mosque. In the meantime, the lives of the people who live these different cultures within this integrity are told. How this theme intersected with these and why Kuzguncuk is the main theme?
The novel is flowing on a two different historical platform. This parallel course continues almost until the final. First one is 1700s, Ottoman era, other is 1950s of Istanbul. We see that a book which is searched by four young fellows in 1950s is passed from hand to hand in 1700s. Parts that a passed 1700s were written by inspiring from the tale I previously mention. And 1950s was created to have different approach to this mysterious book and to see it from different point of views and beliefs. I believe that these secrets may be found easier with these colors and circumstances. I have chosen Kuzguncuk because it was a neighborhood where citizen from different religions used to live together. Kuzguncuk was a place where different cultures lived together in 1950s like few other neighborhoods in Istanbul such as Balat and Fener. I have in fact put a difficulty to myself while writing this novel. I have written two different periods that I didn’t live in. I know 1960s of Kuzguncuk because I was born and grew there. This was also a reason to choose this neighborhood.
These people didn’t used to categorize as minorities in 1950s but now when we see all these, a minority concept is coming to our minds. What do you think about this?
Yes, today the situation is unfortunately as you have said, because today our neighborhoods like Kuzguncuk are not as colorful as they were in the past. Therefore these people who are lesser in number are considered as minorities. But these people used to share these districts in the past. These places had not only a single owner. For instance, maybe the Muslims were a minority in Kuzguncuk where I spent my childhood, because there was only a mosque but three churches, two synagogues there. And all these people used to share that small village. Nobody could call others as minority. But it is pity that our Armenian citizens, Jews, Greeks left Turkey gradually today. Therefore, remaining ones are easily called as minorities.
1950s, when the religions, languages and people could live together with love in. And now you have told us that Kuzguncuk has an important place in these years. Long nights, wine and philosophy chats… Now, when you see 1950s from today which of these could you see? What a difference you can see in our lives?
Our life is full of distractions today. There was no television and we were not other control of communication and technology like today. People were living in a very close, a very limited, very simple but enjoyable world. This can also be thought. Why was my novel passed in 1950s but not today? Why four youngsters didn’t come together to hunt down a mysterious novel in 2000? They won’t. This is related to the naïve and simple people of these past years. Therefore, those years without so many distractions are nicest years of Istanbul. This was also a reason for me to choose 1950s as the second time platform in the novel.
Could all the secrets be concealed in one book? Could there be a lost book written by the oldest language which was long ago whispered to the universe by the God and is still tingling in our ears incomprehensibly? These words are expressing this book.
Yes, this is an extract from the novel.
Very mystical and gripping… There is a journey for the search of the mystery in the book. It is very important that the story is gripping and it draws the reader. Lastly I will ask again. When you fictionalize the novel, what was your base and what was your primary criterion?
I thank you for your comments. As I tried to explain previously, the major point was the answers of these questions: What do I expect from a novel when I read it.
Then, have you written a novel for yourself?
Yes, I can say that for this novel. Maybe I will say different things for my future novels but this novel has created from the main idea of writing a kind of novel that will interest me, grip me, entertain me and offer a great time to me. I have started to write a novel for myself but it finally went to a different dimension. And I am happy with it.
All right, is there any new book coming?
I have two different themes in my mind. I don’t know which one to start with first but I will novelize both of them.
It is also important that your novel has been published by Dogan Kitap. Don’t you think so?
First of all I would like to thank to my wife. Her support was important to me. It is not so easy to find time to write a novel for somebody who works in a regular job. Because you steal some time from the hours you will spend with your wife. Secondly, I would like to thank Dogan Kitap, their managers and their editors for giving me this opportunity. It is a matter courageousness to publish the new author’s books in our country. I thank Dogan Kitap for showing this courage.
Hakan Yaman, I thank you very much and I wish you easiness on your future book journeys and stories. I hope you may have pleasant journeys.