Buy The Well of Trapped Words by Sema Kaygusuz, translated by Maureen Freely HERE

Check out the other books in the 12 Days of Comma Sale HERE

What is it?

The Well of Trapped Words is a single author collection by Turkish writer Sema Kaygusuz, one of Turkey’s leading female authors, who also writes award-winning screenplays and novels, as well as short stories; and in 2016 she was named laureate of the prestigious German Friedrich Rückert Prize. Translated into English by Maureen Freely, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and formerly chair of the Translators Association, this book lives up to the hallmarks of quality that such experienced and highly regarded contributors bestow upon it.

The characters in Sema Kaygusuz’s stories often burn with a conviction only they possess: an old man wakes from a dream one morning with a vision of where water can be found after years of drought; a grandmother claims she regularly entertains a snake in her yard, who tells her stories in a language only she understands; a woman responds to the death of her auntie by insisting she hasn’t really died… Elsewhere, it is a darker secret these characters’ carry, one that can only be revealed through a process of profound metamorphosis – either literally, like the reclusive old man who begins to acquire injuries he claims he’s always had, or in terms of their revealed histories, as their past is peeled away, layer after layer. Blending mysticism and modernity, Kaygusuz’s stories demonstrate why she is regarded as one of the most promising writers in Turkey today.


Why this book?

We chose this book to feature in our 12 Days of Comma sale because it is not only spectacularly eye catching (thanks to our cover designer David Eckersall), but it is also a collection of stories that richly paints the perspective of the outsider, and which tells an oral history intricately woven into the setting of modern day Turkey. These are the kinds of stories that Comma loves: those which shift the focus to the peripheries, and to the characters who are often the most interesting, but also the most overlooked.


To give you a flavour of the intricate description at work in these stories, below is a brief extract from the first story in the book, ‘Zilsan’s Feet’:

They know Zilsan from her handbag. That’s how it is with some girls: people know them from their handbags.

It’s red. A holiday gift from the house where they go to clean – if anything so old and out of fashion can be called a gift, that is. The leather is beginning to scale off. The straps are too long for Zilsan, so she has to knot them. And naturally they bite into her shoulder, which now has a groove in it, deep and purple. She has knots all over her. On skirts that are too long, and bras that are one of two sizes too big, and coats with shredded linings. This is a girl whose life is fading at the creases. Its multi-coloured fabric is fast unravelling.

Who should you buy this for?

Anne Morgan, author of the Book of The Month Blog, described this book as a ‘testament to the power of storytelling’. With that in mind, you should buy this book for anyone that wants to be whisked away to a new city, a new country and an often a magical new reality inhabited by characters that will stick with you once you’ve returned it to your bookshelf.

Buy the anthology for only £6 HERE

Check out the other books in the 12 Days of Comma Sale HERE



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