TE16 Turkish Delight

Labyrinth (novel excerpt) by Burhan Sönmez Translated from Turkish by Ümit Hussein

Click here for a discussion with Burhan Sönmez about Labyrinth (25-minute audio)

If I Try Changing One Cog

19 The night has a smell of its own. Seaweed muddies the tarmac. Dried branches are coated with dust from building sites. The damp from the walls flows to adjacent neighborhoods. Floating gently, on a wind perfumed with incense, from cellars to lofts, from gardens to below bridges,the smell of the night enfolds the whole of Istanbul. Somewhere in the night lies Hayala’s smell. What time is it? The sound of sirens rings out in the distance. There are no other sounds outside.I refill my empty glass with wine. I takea sip. The redwine slidesdownmy throatwithanacrid aftertaste. Cheers Boratin, I say. I put the glass down on the table. The surface of the table is checked, like a chess board. Black and white squares. I didn’t buy this table, my landlady left it behind, I hope. I consider the other possibility. Just like the flaws in that song I composedaremine, this tablecould bemine too. I count the squares. Each time, I go back to the beginning and start again, as


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