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Dawn: Stories

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,895 ratings  ·  256 reviews
A new novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint, SJP for Hogarth: Written from behind bars, the unforgettable collection from one of Turkey’s leading politicians and most powerful storytellers.

In this essential collection, Selahattin Demirtaş’s arresting stories capture the voices of ordinary people living through extraordinary times. A cleaning lady is caught up in a viol
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published April 23rd 2019 by SJP for Hogarth (first published September 16th 2017)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,895 ratings  ·  256 reviews

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Sarah Jessica Parker
It’s my pleasure to present the next book on the SJP for Hogarth list: the gorgeous, heartrending short story collection DAWN by Selahattin Demirtaş. I'm not able to stop thinking about these warm, intimate and often very amusing stories. As a lover of literature, I couldn’t ask for more immersive storytelling. Like so many of the books I love, Demirtaş’s stories are windows on to a world that many of us have never seen or know little about. What makes them unforgettable is their insistence on h ...more
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Written from his prison cell in Turkey, having been unjustly imprisoned by an authoritative regime ..Selahattin Demirtas..a politician fighting for freedom and equality, has written this short story collection which is at times devastating and at times hopeful. A couple of the stories I really didn’t understand but then there are several that will really stay with me.
As always, I love reading about this part of the world.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crown Publishing!
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was honored to receive an advanced copy of this book. In my youth I traveled and worked within Turkish Kurdistan. My first summer there I was an idealistic young white American woman who had never really had her privilege tested. It was an eye opening experience and lead me onto a career path of human rights work. For those Western readers who are unfamiliar with the history of the Kurdish Question, this book is not going to serve as roadmap for you. However, what you will find in this book is ...more
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, publisher
This collection of short stories was written behind bars by a human rights lawyer and politician who is a political prisoner in Turkey. That backstory is important, because without it I’m not sure that these stories would have been published. At least not in the United States.

Each of the stories is very short. They touch on the lives of a range of people from different economic circumstances, genders and ages, but in each case the voice of the protagonist sounds the same. The writing feels very
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Short stories aren't my typical fare, but I loved both of the previous books published by SJP for Hogarth. This book is unique in that it was written behind bars by a political prisoner in Turkey; the introduction is particularly fascinating as it shines a light on Demirtas' backstory and motivation to write fiction. Some of the stories are political parables of sorts though they never feel like propaganda as any agenda usually refer
There’s a saying in Turkey: if you want to be a writer, you need to go to prison.

That would appear to be the case for Selahattin Demirtaş, former leader of the Kurdish party and charismatic author imprisoned in November of 2016. His collection of short stories is his first published work of fiction and he wrote it from behind bars.

The stories in DAWN are by turn grim, bleak, chilling, and hopeful. Demirtaş writes about life on the fringe, working-class people, some on the margins of society, s
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
These are short stories about everyday people, Demirtas writes. But these are stories about people in situations far from those in a country such as the U.S. In one story, a young woman is raped. She returns home but then finds that she is to be killed by her brothers and father. It is about the honor of the family. In another story a woman on her way to work smells tear gas. A demonstration must be nearby. She's hit on the head by something. Collapsed and bleeding, she is taken to jail with pro ...more
J.N. Bedout
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This collection of short stories is a haunting depiction of life amidst turbulent circumstances. Some of the shorts are tragic and bewildering, like the one about the honor killing. The fact that the victim understands, accepts and consents to her demise is truly incomprehensible. Other shorts were difficult to understand, perhaps because their meaning was lost in translation or because of cultural differences that are difficult to explain in such limited space.

The one about the little girl fle
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
**3.5 stars**

Dawn is a deeply affecting read. The stories are simple in their presentation, but emotional in content. The stories are short, but very poignant. I wasn't familiar with Selahattin Demirtaş prior to reading this, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to access his work via the Penguin First to Read Program.
Jiny S
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
These short stories—shocking, depressing, and incendiary—reflect the state of mind of the author, as he created this work while being persecuted as a political prisoner and watching the uncountable injustices happening around him in this country of Turkey.

Some of these stories echo the appalling headlines that captured the horrific events happening in the Middle East, not only in Turkey but also in Greece and Syria. The hundreds and thousands of people without faces and names all have stories o
Seema Rao
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Let me give you some advice: Read this book. Start with the author's note/ prologue. Read it slowly. Think about it's point. Value the freedom you have, and consider the lack of freedom the author has. Then, slowly, slowly, read each of the stories. Read them again and again.

This book is so insane affecting. I am stunned by the author's ability to weave so much out of so few words. Each story is fairly short. Stories touch on violence, misogyny, freedom, family, and age. Each story uses language
Translated from the Turkish by Amy Marie Spangler and Kate Ferguson

"Dawn marks the first moments when light emerges from darkness. Dawn represents hope, revives itself anew each day. Darkness thinks itself eternal, and just as it believes it has defeated the light, dawn deals the first blow. This is the moment that brings an end to darkness and marks the beginning of light.”

This is a book of short stories about Turkish life written by an author who has written hi
Jamele (BookswithJams)
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: partner, arcs
Sarah Jessica Parker’s next book under her imprint, SJP for Hogarth, is a powerful collection of short stories written behind bars by Selahattin Demirtaş, one of Turkey’s leading politicians. These stories are reflections of current times, and most are heartbreaking and difficult to read, but nonetheless powerful and necessary. Nazan the Cleaning Lady stuck with me in that it is one of the few stories that have a positive outcome, as most end in devastation, which should be expected.

Demirtaş wa
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dawn is a collection of short stories written from prison by a Turkish human rights lawyer turned politician. 

I often don't enjoy short story collections as much as I wish I would, but this one completely blew me away. Especially for a work in translation. You can tell the author has a massive intellect and a playful way with words. The stories vacillate between laugh-out-loud irony and gut-punching pathos. For style and tone, I was reminded a little of the greats of Russian literature, but the
Pam Mooney
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book of thought provoking short stories. I love the concept of ordinary people in extraordinary times. A great gift or addition to your bookshelves. A good read.
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an incredible collection of dark and moving stories, snapshots into lives cast into turbulence - the characters within are ordinary people of varying perspectives, and their stories often share glimpses into deeply harrowing experiences. Two standouts for me were the title story, Seher, and As Lonely As History. They were haunting and unsettling, though complete in the window they shared! Well worth checking this collection out, and reading more about the author who wrote this while impr ...more
Written from behind bars in a maximum security prison in Edirne, Turkey, Dawn's dozen short stories illicit heartbreak, humor, courage, pride, fear, resignation, and, ultimately, hope. Each and together, these stories, translated from the Turkish, show the new normal for an oppressed people. Every story packs a gut-punch. I loved them all. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy tight, affective and affecting short story collections, those with socio-political curiosity, as well as those ...more
This is a beautiful book of short stories. I received an electronic advance copy from Penguin's First to Read program, but I will likely but a print copy when it is released in the U.S. The book opens with a preface from the author, explaining that he is writing the book as a political prisoner in a high security prison in Turkey. Knowing that information is essential to understanding the stories that follow. They are character driven and often those characters are in desperate situations. I app ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A truly incandescent work of prison literature, this story collection soars not for its insight into the life of a political prisoner (there isn't much of that at all) but for its near perfect ability to see into the souls of the regular people whose stories it tells. From the light touch of magical realism where pigeons converse with men in a prison yard, to the brutal realism of the title story (quite possibly the best albeit most harrowing thing I've ever read about so-called honour killings) ...more
Alison Hardtmann
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
Is there anything strange about any of this? I don't think so. It's just another day in the Middle East, a bomb or suicide vest going off somewhere, leaving in its wake dozens of broken bodies and a shattered marketplace in a poor neighborhood.

Selahattin Demirtas is a Turkish human rights lawyer and politician who is currently a political prisoner, and this shows in this collection. Each story illuminates an aspect of life in Turkey, with a strong emphasis on how women function in Turkish societ
I received a complimentary uncorrected digital proof of this book from Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

Like Selahattin Demirtaş, I was affected by both the declining state of human rights and the alarming drop in online freedom in Turkey as the current regime grew increasingly totalitarian over the last few years. Unlike Demirtaş, my spouse's liberties were only somewhat restricted after 2016 (and not for the same reasons, obviously), and we were finally permitted
Ava Homa
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple yet powerful stories. This book is not about storytelling as much as it is about resisting oppression. The writer's story (artist-turned-politician out of desperation and now writing behind bars for his universal values) is by far more important that little tales told here. He writes to say he is not rotting, that he is still living, breathing, creating, hoping and fighting, that no prison can limit a truly free human.
Anna (lion_reads)
The truth is, I have always believed, both as a politician and a writer, that our struggle must be carried out on two levels. The first is an intellectual struggle fought in the field of language, an area that naturally includes literature. We do this in order to reclaim the concepts of peace, democracy, and human rights, concepts that are eroded day by day, caught as they are within the insincere boundaries of governments and institutional politics.
(from the author's preface)

Dawn was an emotion
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ll be honest and say I don’t know much of the political situation that led Selahattin Demirtaş to be imprisoned in Turkey, the author of “Dawn” - the third release from Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint for Hogarth books, except from his own preface to this edition in which he describes being jailed as a political prisoner. The complications of this case are complex to be sure, but this collection takes a look at a lot of injustices that, written from his imprisonment, are both disturbing and rev ...more
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When asked why Demirtas, A Kurdish politician and human rights lawyer who has been unjustly imprisoned since November 2016 for alleged crimes of spreading propaganda, named his story collection “Dawn” he responded with this: “Dawn marks the first moments when light emerges from darkness. Dawn represents hope, revives itself anew each day. Darkness thinks itself enternal, and just as it believes it has defeated the light, Dawn deals the first blow. This is the moment that brings an end to darknes ...more
i admire the man, but i did not enjoy this book. the preface was inspiring, and the stories (+ notes section at the back) interesting/informative because they gave me a taste of everyday life in 21st century turkey. they were also very short reads, and some made me smile, or laugh, feel horrified or some sort of way, and each was filled with his humor, hope, perseverance. but to be honest, they were a slog to get through, because they weren't especially entertaining (sometimes boring) or well wr ...more
Susie Dumond
Aug 23, 2019 rated it liked it
These short stories written by a political prisoner from behind bars range in theme, mood, length, and tone. Some were really strong and stuck with me, but I had to give it three stars due to the inconsistency. The language was also sometimes overly simplistic and lacking in nuance, but I can't tell if that's because of the author or translation. Overall, an engaging, fast-paced, and often powerful read.
Sally Piper
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The bulk of the stories in this beautifully translated and produced collection present what initially feels like an everyday account of the everyday lives of (mostly female) Turkish people, but then you're suddenly blindsided by their often tragic truths. That the author of this collection is a political prisoner in a maximum-security prison facing a 183-year sentence makes the collection all the more poignant.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: SJP
Shelves: audio
We don't hear much from Turkey or Turkish writers, especially politicians serving prison time. These were good stories and a unique voice.
Graham Wilhauk
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I might be a LITTLE generous here, but this collection really does hold some short yet beautiful masterpieces. While I can't say it's my favorite release of 2019 anymore, it is CERTAINLY in the top 3 if not the runner up. My personal favorites from this collection were "Seher" and "As Lonely as History." While all of the stories were really good, these two masterpieces really pushed me over the edge on this one.

Something I noticed while reading this collection is that it starts at a spot that i
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Play Book Tag: Dawn: Stories - Selahattin Demirtas (4 1/2 stars) 1 5 Oct 30, 2019 06:12PM  

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Selahattin Demirtaş is a Zaza Kurdish politician who is co-leader of the left-wing pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), serving alongside Figen Yüksekdağ. Demirtaş was the presidential candidate of the HDP in the 2014 election, coming in 3rd place with 9.77% of the vote.

Selahattin Demirtaş was born in a Zaza-speaking family in Elazığ in 1973 where he completed both his primary and secondar

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“هێندەی مێژوو تەنیا. هەندێک جار لە نێو جەنجاڵترین شوێنیشدا هەست بە تەنیایی خۆت دەکەیت. وەک ئەوەی لە تەواوی گەردووندا تاکە کەسێک کە ئاگای لە هەبوونت بێت، تەنێ خۆتیت. ئەمە ئەگەر بە مانای ئەوە بێت هەر بەردێکی ئەو ڕێگایەی کە بەرەو تەنیایی دەڕوات خۆت چنیبێتت...” 5 likes
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