Karen's Reviews > Dawn: Stories

Dawn by Selahattin Demirtaş
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3.5 stars.

I don't usually read short story collections. Since my preference lies in character-driven plots, I generally don't find short stories as satisfying. But I wanted to make an exception here because of my own roots even though I knew nothing about this author except what I found out from the blurbs. I knew the collection was short and decided to give it a try.

I really liked the first story, the symbolism, the strength and the writing. But then the second story was so over the top that I worried I made a mistake. Not sure why I kept going, maybe it's because the stories are very short and compelling enough that I was willing to continue even if I didn't care for one or two of them. There's a good mix of optimism and tragedy in the stories.

I listened to the audio version which was narrated by two Turkish narrators because they clearly knew how to pronounce all the names and places properly which was great. However, there were also many, many turns of phrase in the book that were clearly transliterated instead of being translated properly. For example, in Turkish we have something called bird language which a lot of kids use to talk to each other. It's made up by adding an extra syllable between syllables of a word so it sounds like gibberish but is not. The author refers to this in the first story as how he can still remember it and understand the birds in the story. This concept doesn't really exist in America. Kids here have something similar in called pig latin which does a similar play on words by "transferring the initial consonant or consonant cluster of each word to the end of the word and adding a vocalic syllable." Even though the concept is similar, clearly what they call it here has nothing to do with birds. A proper translation would have referred to it as pig latin so it makes sense to the local audience but then the whole correlation to the birds would have fallen apart. Hence the conundrum I assume.

This is one example but there are many examples in the book where I could clearly tell that the translation was a turn of phrase that makes sense in Turkish but doesn't really translate and thus its power is lost in translation.

For me, this didn't take away much from the powerful stories since I could switch back to Turkish in my head. Many of these stories are thought-provoking and profound and enjoyable. Despite the handful that I really didn't connect with, I am glad I read this collection.


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Reading Progress

July 5, 2019 – Started Reading
July 5, 2019 – Shelved
July 5, 2019 – Finished Reading

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