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:

The Garden of the Departed Cats by Bilge Karasu

Blurb from Goodreads

In an ancient Mediterranean city, a tradition is maintained: every ten years an archaic game of human chess is staged, the players (visitors versus locals) bearing weapons. This archaic game, the central event of The Garden of the Departed Cats, may prove as fatal as the deadly attraction our narrator feels for the local man who is the Vizier, or Captain, of the home team. Their “romance” (which, though inconclusive, magnetizes our protagonist to accept the Vizier’s challenge to play) provides the skeletal structure of this experimental novel. Each of their brief interactions works as a single chapter. And interleaved between their chapters are a dozen fable-like stories. The folk tale might concern a 13th-century herbal that identifies a kind of tulip, a “red salamander,” which dooms anyone who eats it to never tell a lie ever again. Or the tale might be an ancient story of a terrible stoat-like creature that feeds for years on the body of whomever it sinks its claws into, like guilt. These strange fables work independently of the main narrative but, in curious and unpredictable ways, (and reminiscent of Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table), they echo and double its chief themes: love, its recalcitrance, its cat-like finickiness, and its refusal to be rushed.

With many strata to mine, The Garden of the Departed Cats is a work of peculiar beauty and strangeness, the whole layered and shiny like a piece of mica.

Why I Want To Read It

Happy Monday everyone! The weekends are indeed quite short. HAHA. In the blink of an eye, it is already over. Speaking of. Like the blink of an eye, 2022 is slowly drawing to a close. Could you imagine that in a couple of weeks, we will again be welcoming a new year? The new year is brimming with hope as the pandemic is slowly put under control. Everything is slowly going back to normal. In a couple more months, we might already surpass what has reset the past few years. Despite commerce and trade slowly returning to normal, the virus remains a real threat. I hope we don’t become too complacent lest we will not be undoing the progress we have made thus far. With this, I remind everyone to be diligent in observing minimum health protocols. We can never be too complacent, especially with the rate the virus mutates and spreads.

My holiday wish for this year remains the same: that the virus will finally be eradicated. On another note, with the year drawing to a close in 2022, I hope that the remaining days of the year will be kind to everyone. I pray that it will be filled with nothing but great news. I also hope that all your hard work will get repaid and that all your prayers get answered or that they have already been answered. I also hope that the rest of the week will go great for everyone. More importantly, I hope that you are all doing well and are in a good state of health, both in your mind and body.

As has been customary, I am kickstarting the blogging week with another Goodreads Monday update. Since September, I have been focusing on completing all the books on my active reading challenges. I was so relaxed I didn’t realize I barely had time to complete the books on these said challenges. Thankfully, I was able to make huge strides. Today, I started reading Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace Walk. The first book in the Nobel Laureate in Literature’s globally acclaimed Cairo Trilogy, it is my third novel by Mahfouz and is also the fourteenth book in my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge I read. It means that I am one book away from completing the said challenge! Yay! I am also down to my last book in my 2022 Top 22 Reading List. The last book on both challenges is Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy which I am saving for last as it is quite thick.

For this week’s Goodreads Monday update, however, I am not featuring a book from any of my ongoing reading challenges. Rather, I am featuring Bilge Karasu’s The Garden of the Departed Cats. Prior to this year, I have never heard of the Turkish writer. It was through an online bookseller that I encountered him. Speaking of Turkish literature, I was drawn into this part of the literary world by Nobel Laureate in Literature Orhan Pamuk, and Elif Shafak. Despite their contrasting styles, they have captivated me with stories that captured the landscape of their homeland. After Japanese and Russian literature, I want to expand my foray into Turkish literature.

As such, the chance encounter with Karasu’s novel The Garden of the Departed Cats was fated I guess. Karasu, I have learned, is a prominent figure in contemporary Turkish literature and has written several short stories, essays, and novels. He is also referred to as the sage of Turkish literature. Apart from being a writer, he also worked as a translator. But what drew me toward The Garden of the Departed Cats. I am also unsure because when I encountered the book, I only did a brief background check. The title was enough to convince me to read the book. Besides, my appetite for books from different parts of the world is insatiable. They allow me to learn more about the world and through this novel, I hope I get to gain more understanding of Turkey, a country I long to visit.

How about you fellow reader? What books have you added to your reading list? Do drop it in the comment box. For now, happy Monday and, as always, happy reading!