Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.

This week’s book:

Memed, My Hawk by Yaşar Kemal

Blurb from Goodreads

A tale of high adventure and lyrical celebration, tenderness and violence, generosity and ruthlessness, Memed, My Hawk is the defining achievement of one of the greatest and most beloved of living writers, Yashar Kemal. It is reissued here with a new introduction by the author on the fiftieth anniversary of its first publication.

Memed, a high-spirited, kindhearted boy, grows up in a desperately poor mountain village whose inhabitants are kept in virtual slavery by the local landlord. Determined to escape from the life of toil and humiliation to which he has been born, he flees but is caught, tortured, and nearly killed. When at last he does get away, it is to set up as a roving brigand, celebrated in song, who could be a liberator to his people—unless, like the thistles that cover the mountain slopes of his native region, his character has taken an irremediably harsh and unforgiving form. 

Why I Want To Read It

Happy first day of the week everyone! I hope everyone was able to recover from their weekend hangover and that you were all able to have a great start to the week; I know, Monday is the least favorite day of many, including yours truly. On another note, Mondays also mean a new opportunity to start over, to be better, to start afresh. Oh, I just realized – we are already halfway through August! Time flies fast. Before we know it, it is already September. In the Philippines, that only means one thing. The long Christmas season will start. Malls and radios will start playing Christmas songs. Christmas shops will be doubling their production. Everyone is wiping the dust off of their decorations. Anyway, I hope that you are all doing well and are in a good state of health, both in mind and body. I hope that the rest of the year will be kind to all of us and that all that we’ve worked hard for during the year will be repaid. My wish is for COVID-19 and monkeypox to be contained. With this, I implore everyone to be diligent in observing minimum health protocols.

To kickstart the blogging week, I am posting a new Goodreads Monday update. For August, I am traveling across the Asian continent with a selection of Asian literary works; this is after I have spent a month immersing myself in the works of Japanese literature. Asian literature is as vast as the continent, and as diverse as well. Belatedly, I have realized how lacking my exploration of Asian literature is. I’ve thought that I’ve read my fair share of Asian literature (outside of Japan) but it seems that I am mistaken. As such, I am again dedicating an entire month to works of Asian literature. Over the weekend, I completed Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand and started Nobel Laureate in Literature Orhan Pamuk’s The Silent House. To align with this month’s theme, I have been featuring works of Asian literature in my Goodreads Monday updates. For this week, I am featuring Pamuk’s compatriot, Yaşar Kemal with his debut novel, Memed, My Hawk.

Actually, I have never encountered Yaşar Kemal previously. Today was my first time coming across him while I was researching Turkish literature. You see, apart from Pamuk and Elif Shafak (you can also include Elif Batuman although she identifies as American having been born in the US to Turkish parents), my exploration of Turkish literature is glaringly lacking. Apparently, Kemal is one of the most prominent figures in modern Turkish literature. Like Pamuk and Shafak, Kemal is an outspoken political critic. He has been known to lend his voice to sensitive subjects of national concern, particularly the oppression of the Kurdish people. His activism even landed him in jail, again, like Shafak and Pamuk. By now, I feel like nearly every prominent figure in Turkish literature has had their fair share of jail time.

Kemal has also won several accolades and was even a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature on the strength of one novel alone: Memed, My Hawk. Memed, My Hawk was his debut novel. It was published in Turkish as İnce Memed, meaning “Memed, the Slim”, in 1955. It was warmly received in Turkey, winning Kemal literary awards such as the Varlık Prize for that year, Turkey’s highest literary prize. It earned him a reputation as a rising literary star. Memed, My Hawk was also the first book of the İnce Memed tetralogy. In 1961, the book’s English translation was released, hence, introducing Kemal and his prose to anglophone readers. For now, I hope I get to obtain a copy of this book, and other works of Turkish literature.

How about you fellow reader? Are there works of Turkish literature you want to recommend? Do drop it in the comment box. For now, happy Monday and, as always, happy reading!