This article discusses the complex and ambiguous images of Istanbul in a work of contemporary Turkish fiction: Ahmet Ümit’s İstanbul Hatırası [A Memento for Istanbul] (2010). It aims to show how the author utilizes the literary representation of various architectural monuments and the historical figures who erected them in order to emphasize the city’s ethnic, cultural, architectural and linguistic complexity. Within the framework of discussions on the relationship between the flâneur figure and the modern detective, the study argues that although the novel is fundamentally a contemporary murder mystery, in which the detectives stroll through the streets of an urban city to find a serial killer, the portrayals of both Istanbul’s distant history during the Byzantium, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods and the protagonist’s memories of the culturally diverse neighborhood of his childhood occupy a substantial place. Accordingly, Ümit, a leading contemporary Turkish detective novelist, effectively uses the intermingling of a contemporary detective mystery with stories of the architectural history of Istanbul over centuries and the depiction of the old city during the protagonist’s childhood to challenge the dominant representation of Istanbul in Turkish fiction. By doing this, A Memento for Istanbul provides profound insights into our understanding of Istanbul’s complex and multiple past through the author’s skillful blending of depictions of the contemporary urban city with those of the ancient capital. The novel thus informs the reader not only about the complexity, diversity and heterogeneity of historic Istanbul, but also appeals to the reader to preserve its cosmopolitan heritage.
contemporary Turkish novel, Turkish detective novel, Istanbul in Turkish fiction, flâneur, detective figure
|Yazar :||Halim KARA -|