TE16 Turkish Delight

Our Best Love Story (novel excerpt) by Mario Levi Translated from Turkish by Zeynep Beler 10 The Arab’s Coffeehouse, Shores, Train Whistles

The Arab’s Coffeehouse is overrun this morning with those who fail to write what they wish, who inhabit a dream. It’s a sentence that appears evocative, seems to express hurt and exasperation; a sentence that’s bound to be associated with the magic of certain words and reminiscent of those old illusion-laden photographs. We could also call it, perhaps, a beginning that engenders hope in the way of conveying and sharing a game that has long been reckoned with or an attempt at self-examination. A little hopeful attempt, yes.Yetdespiteall thediscourse, imagery, and insufficiently expressed parentheses I can’t help but carry within me, I honestly still don’t understand my impulse to call this coffeehouse, which I may have passed by before in another lifetime of loneliness infused with completely different words, the Arab’s Coffeehouse, just as I don’t understand my effort to live by discounting certain truths and longing, within this text, for another story. Is it that I’m attempting to pursue once more a presentation of previous lives along with the evocations such names are sure to bring? Maybe. As a matter of fact, considering the stately trees surrounding it, this place could just as easily be called the Fig’s Shade, or that of the chestnut, or walnut. As for the real name of the coffeehouse, it must be a lot uglier than any number of my guesses. Then one is faced with the magical bittersweet joy that stems fromnot knowing certain things, 27

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