Saturday, July 26, 2008

Two Girls

Not sure which of my blogs to put this book review into - it's a Turkish book (so Eastern Europe might be relevant), but it's a book, so my arts blog is also relevant - though it is not music....

So here it is, Two Girls by Perihan Magden, the third of the books I picked up at the Dussmann Kulturkaufhaus in Berlin. Reasons for not moving to Berlin - 1) the expensive concert tickets, 2) the proximity of Dussmann and potential for spending all my money on books and CDs (though on the other hand I could at least use public libraries again).

'Two girls' is a scary book! It's about two young women in Istanbul (lovely references, if not descriptions of places in Istanbul I have been to) who bump into each other and fall in love immediately. If this book were written in Western Europe, it might have had lesbian love scenes, but this one was sponsored by the Turkish Culture Ministry, so it does not.

The girls are very different - Behiye is a red-haired, freckled punk who seems to like to wear more male clothes and likes Metallica, Hadan is a very pretty and very feminine girl, big into Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears, whose mother is a high-class tart. After a day Behiye moves into Hadan's and her mother's flat, not without having stolen money from her brother.

But gently the world falls apart - there are differences in musical and intellectual taste, and there's Hadan's continuing interest in boys, particularly rich boys - shades of her mother? Behiye is very jealous. Intermittently, within the story, dead male bodies appear dressed in brand name clothes, and with their throats cut - what is the link to the scalpel Behiye carries in her pocket?

The book is beautifully written - particularly the inner life of the rather tortured Behiye is portrayed incredibly vividly. It keeps hurtling forward - though the end is not quite what one might expect. Another unputdownable book!