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I Will Never See the World Again: The Memoir of an Imprisoned Writer
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I Will Never See the World Again: The Memoir of an Imprisoned Writer

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  68 reviews
"Ich werde die Welt nie wieder sehen. Ich werde nie wieder den Himmel ohne den Rahmen sehen, den die Wände des Gefängnishofes bilden." Am 16. Februar 2018 wurde der große türkische Intellektuelle Ahmet Altan in der Türkei zu lebenslanger Haft verurteilt. Altan ist einer der wichtigsten, mutigsten Journalisten der Türkei, der immer offen gesagt hat, was er denkt. Ihm wird ...more
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Other Press (first published 2018)
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Diane S ☔
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
What an amazingly powerful book. Turkish writer, Ahmet Altan is imprisoned by Erdogans oppressive regime for the slimmest of reasons. This is his experience from the time he is taken until he finds out his sentence is for life. It covers his feelings, but also discussions with his two cell mates on religion, descriptions of his cell, and his love of books, words, authors. It is poignant, forthright, hopeful and despairing. His words were smuggled out of prison, with the hope that the regime will ...more
Mehmed Gokcel
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The review on the cover "Read this - it will explain why you ever read anything, why anyone ever writes" by A. L. Kennedy might sound like clickbate material, but in fact it happens to be the best/only way to describe this book.
Tolga Dorken
This is a very powerful piece of writing depicting what is left of the Turkish democracy after the failed coup attempt in 2016. Had it been a work of fiction, I would probably have rated it higher. But, and it's an important but, it's an autobiography, therefore the expectations are different.

The book is very moving and I read the first sections with sadness and anger. However, as I read further, my feelings turned into one of disbelief that the author omitted critical parts of his life prior
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sentenced to life in prison without parole with charges of being a putschist (a word I had to look up), Altan's book of essays, smuggled page by page from prison, is a testament to the human spirit. It talks about life under despotic regimes, his love for books and the humanity that seeps through unimaginable circumstances. A must read, particularly in these disillusioning times when one begins to question democracy.
Rabia Turkyilmaz
I cried and laughed while reading the book. I was amazed and shocked by people's ignorance or carelessness. It is a staggering book even if you already know what has been happening in Turkey for a long time.
Tonstant Weader
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ahmet Altan is a writer and a journalist in Turkey who managed to offend Erdogan. He and his brother Mehmet were arrested after the failed coup in 2016 and charged with aiding the coup and were sentenced to life in prison. Mehmet recently was released when the Supreme Court said the charges were ridiculous, but Ahmet remains in prison. From there he wrote I Will Never See the World Again, a prison diary in the form of essays that speak of his experiences in learning to be free while imprisoned.

Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I saw that another book had been written from inside a Turkish prison by a political prisoner, (I'm referring to Dawn: Stories which I read a few months back) I had to read it. I was not disappointed. I haven't read any of the author's other books, but I feel that this memoir was a very intriguing look into the mind of someone who knows he will spend the rest of his life in a small cell with only 1 hr a day outside. His writing is at times hopeful, other times resigned to the truth of his ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author is in Prison for life in his Homeland of Turkey. It’s moving and sad and melancholy. By most penal standards the man did not commit a crime.

A short book and well worthy of reading.
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a powerful account of Ahmet Altan's experience of having been served a life sentence. He is such a gorgeous writer and his account is extremely thoughtful and heartbreaking. It was a great comfort to know that, at my time of reading, he was released from prison, so many of his fears and struggles have, hopefully, dissipated somewhat. Nevertheless, this was extremely emotional to read, because he is so skilled and elegant a writer, it's impossible to not feel what he is feeling. This book is ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Each eye that reads what I have written, each voice that repeats my name, holds my hand like a little cloud and flies me over the lowlands, the springs, the forests, the seas, the towns, and their streets. They host me quietly in their houses, in their halls, in their rooms. I travel the whole world in a prison cell."

A captivating and moving series of vignettes and essays meditating on everything from the writer's craft to the nature of evil. The writing is somewhat uneven, but given the
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By a writer in Turkey who was arrested and sentenced to life without parole.
Meag McKeron
This is the story of a man, unjustly imprisoned for life, who clings to his humanity through writing. His words are so important, as they not only bring awareness to the injustices taking place in his country of Turkey, but they also give guidance on how to stay sane when everything seems to be falling apart around you. He describes the moment, after the initial shock of his arrest, when he realizes he won't be going home again. I felt claustrophobic as I read about him pacing his cell in order ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
If I will never see the world again by Ahmet Altan were a novel, it would be heralded as the Darkness at noon of our time, a landmark in the fiction of imprisonment and dictatorship worthy of Arthur Koestler. But it is a memoir instead, all the more devastating by its spare prose and the knowledge that writers like Altan, arrested on charges of sending “subliminal messages” to enemies of the Turkish government when he appeared on television the evening before the 2016 attempted coup against ...more
As readers we’re tempted to uncritically applaud most any book smuggled out of prison, and political imprisonment is especially likely to lend the author a halo. Likewise, I suppose, the prison writer may be tempted to imagine his work is more important or profound than it really is. Ahmet Altan acknowledges the risks: “Add the sentence ‘I write these words from a prison cell’ to any narrative and you will add tension and vitality,” he writes, “and an ill-concealed call for mercy.”

I came to this
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They can chain my body but not my mind
And I'll break out again tonight
--Merle Haggard
How many people have been imprisoned on the unfathomably absurd charge of giving subliminal messages on a television show? Well, there are at least two in Turkey: the economics professor, Mehmet Altan, and his brother, the writer Ahmet Altan. The charge against the outspoken Ahmet was later changed to staging a coup against the Turkish government, resulting in a sentence of life without parole. In contemporary
Dana DesJardins
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having followed Altan's case when we were in Turkey, I was heartened (and dismayed) to see this book published. Given life in prison without parole on the charge of having delivered subliminal messages prior to the coup, Altan writes to defy his fate. "Time did not laugh here," he says. He narrates imprisonment's demoralizing indignities, like having to twist the labels from disposable water bottles into a belt to hold up the trousers that slip off due to malnutrition.
Altan analyzes rather than
Incredible read - highly recommended reading.

After a sham trial on spurious (and continuously changing) charges that Altan and his brother, Mehmet, played a role in inciting the 2016 coup (based on their work with their previous newspaper, Taraf ), Altan and his brother Mehmet were sentenced to life in prison. From his cell, Altan ruminates on his trials and imprisonment, literature, life, etc. with insight and touches of humor; his prose is truly gorgeous and among the best I've read; his
Mark Reece
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will never see the world again is a set of essays written by Ahmet Altan, largely about his arrest and subsequent sentencing to life imprisonment for supposedly offering logistical support to the Turkish coup plotters in 2016.

This is a great book, and one that cries out to be read over a short period of time. The writing is urbane, and the subjects discussed are varied. Altan is a writer's writer- he quotes or alludes to a wide variety of literature, largely from memory, and the tone of the
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ahmet Altan is one of Turkey's most important writers, and we can see and understand why after reading his book "I Will Never See the World Again" that he wrote from his prison cell. Te tells of his arrest, trial, and conviction for making anti-government remarks in Erdogan's Turkey after a failed coup attempt in 2018. His conviction and life sentence without parole were upheld on appeal. He details the events that lead up to his arrest and provides an intimate look at what serves as a justice ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

I was born and raised in Turkey so when my childhood friend who lives in London recommended I read this book, I added it to my list. It took several more months for it to come to the United States but I finally got it from the library this week. Like Dawn, the author of this book is also in jail. Unlike Dawn, this is a non-fiction novel and not stories.

I don't know enough about the politics and truth behind so much of what happened during the coup and this particular author's part (or
Danielle Urban
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Will Never See the World Again is one of the most interesting memoirs I have read. A man has gone from his world of writing to being imprisoned for helping a rebellion against the government. This is a journey to open up the eyes of those worldwide. It shows how the government can quickly imprison writers and how they think they can quiten their voices. The writer, Altan, has written his tale in a way that had me hooked. Most memoirs are dull, full of fluff, or too boring to read. Yet this ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an eye opening book that shows why we should be happy with what we have, that people out there have it worse than us.

Each chapter read like a mini essay with a chronology to it of Altan's experiences. It was funny and sad and everything in between as we are taken on a journey through Altan's experiences and thoughts to his situation.

In many respects, it's about how how much human's can endure, even in the bleakest of times when it seems as though there is no hope.

A very poignant and
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Phenomenal piece of literature. The author has a very poetic style and describes from jail how he was wrongly accused of his prison sentence. It is unclear if his perspective is fair or not. Other reviews implies he was well connected with the government when he was the main editor of a newspaper.

Regardless, I would still recommend his book. It really makes you reflect on life.
This is not about feeling sorry for the author, but rather about reflecting on how you can still celebrate life despite
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Daniel by: Granta
The book is a collection of memoirs written by Ahmet Altan. Even though he is in prison and sentenced for life, you don't get the feeling of sadness nor depression from the pages but rather hope and joy from small things. There a different stories in the book from his experiences in the prison: his exchanges with inmates, the small garden that he is allowed to visit, his hospital visits. Each of these small stories paints a picture of hopefulness and freedom. He paints himself as a person who is ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got at ARC of this from Other Press and it was a good, quick read. I am pretty ignorant about Turkey’s history and recent political issues and so I appreciated learning more about this part of the world while also enjoying the philosophical and poetic essays by Altan. Of note today marks three years since the attempted coup and within the past week, Altan’s case has been overturned but also he is still being held... it is quite current.
Deb M.
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Americans do not understand what drives people to come to this country legally or illegally, giving up friends and family. A book such as this might give Americans insights. Every chapter is a short essay about being imprisoned in a Turkish prison. Every essay was smuggled out of the prison given into the hands of the translator Yasemin Congar.
I cannot say this was an easy read but it was certainly informative and worth my time.
Glen Retief
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A mosaic of lyrically written and evocative fragments telling the story of a writer jailed for life by Erdogan's government in Turkey, for "encouraging the coup." The descriptions of what it's like to wear handcuffs are absolutely extraordinary and pretty much say everything about Altan's situation in life.
Ionut Chiruta
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I have found about this book after reading a piece in the Economist about Turkish writers imprisoned under Erdogan authoritarian rule. After finally getting this book, which is really hard to get, as the author is seldom translated into English, I’ve begun reading it on a flight from Brussels to Budapest, and I can say I haven’t felt any turbulence. The writing is so enthralling. It is really amazing how the Turkish author wants you to feel the feeling of a prison from nowadays Turkey, and how ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sobering and difficult to read - but so worthwhile to have picked up and gotten through. Collected vignettes of Altan's writings from prison force us to confront despair and hopelessness head-on, but his skills as a writer provide fascinating insights into his experience as well as his mind.
Anneke Alnatour
Writer Ahmet Altan has been sentenced to life in prison in Turkey. In this short book, he describes his arrest, life in prison and much, much more. A light read on a heavy topic! Got some great thoughts and ideas from this book.

Highly recommended.
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He was born 1950 in Ankara, Turkey to the notable journalist and writer Çetin Altan as the first of two sons. His brother Mehmet Altan is also a journalist, writer and university professor of economy politics.
A working journalist for more than twenty years, he has served in all stages of the profession, from being a night shift reporter to editor in chief in various newspapers.
In addition to
“The eternity of death has the power to trivialize even the most terrifying moments of life.” 0 likes
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