Walking along the tragedies of mankind

Selcen Aksel
Cumhuriyet Newspaper May 07, 2009

Hakan Yaman won the Yunus Nadi Novel Prize with his second novel ‘The Woman in the Photograph’.

  • Are there any reasons to choose to write novels which can be described as the voluminous form of literature in some ways? Does this have a correlation with your style that is integrated with the details which are not limited only to the major characters and side stories?
  • I have always felt sympathy for the novel form. Although I read other forms with pleasure, novels have a different place in my heart. I find more enjoyable to write novels because novels are long lasting adventures. They give me a side work opportunity, they force me to make long and delightful researches which I love to make while writing. They sometimes trouble me with little details for hours. But by saying this I do not want to be understood that I disregard story writing. On the contrary, I have always thought that writing a good story is even harder than writing a novel.
  • A love that is chased with passion and on the other hand a struggle not to lose the hope which is carefully kept… Can we consider your novel as a love novel within this double-element thematic integrity.
  • This review has been done by the critics before me. I share this view even though I do not find it right to categorize the novels with only one word such as this. We can consider it as a love novel which contains solitude and sexuality which are two main tragedies of mankind in its depths. A novel of a little bit diseased love. It is differed from the classical love novels in this respect. But still can be considered as a love novel.


  • We realized that the major characters see the life and people with a certain level of cultural and intellectual knowledge in the novel. But they live a simple middle class type of life and sometimes they become ordinary and they go to the extreme edges when their passions are concerned. Is this symbolically the reflection of an inner conflict and disharmony?
  • We must accept this determination as a natural case that all human beings have and should have in my estimation. We all have an “I” who is dressed for the social environment and a “bare nudity” or “half nakedness” who comes up when we are alone or when we feel ourselves comfortable. We are living the lives of both these beings in the same time. These rises and falls are the basic and natural shapes of our lives. Suphi, the protagonist of the novel naturally has this antinomy inside. Moreover, Suphi is having these rises and falls little exaggerated sometimes because of his individual state of mind.
  • Depending on this, I would like to ask where your novel stands in today’s world and in Turkey even though it is not filled with the hints about a historical period.
  • I didn’t specified clear date in the novel but it is the present day. We realize this fact from several parts where Suphi is telling about his age and his youth days, from what he tells about 1970s or from his complains about his getting back, about the new “digital” world while he speaks about photography. In fact, I do not care about it.  I think that nothing expressed inside the novel could change if it was fifty years ago or after.
  • How do you describe the path you have taken in the art of writing with your second work while a different style of expression is considered?
  • I had two novel drafts in mind when I have completed my first novel. “Woman in the Photograph” was one of them and the second one was the novel that I am working on now. But “Woman in the Photograph” stood out and made herself written so to say. I could complete my first novel in six years. I can say that this one has come pouring into the words and sentences and filled the papers. It became a novel that I have written with fun. In this respect, it was written in a very different process. I also would like to try different things in my new novels.