Thursday, January 28, 2016
Divorce Turkish Style, by Esmahan Aykol
Kati insinuates herself into the dead woman's family as well as into the lives of other people associated, sometimes tangentially, with the victim (who was an environmental activist), frequently in cafes around the city. The puzzle of the crime doesn't develop slowly toward a resolution: the situation remains totally fuzzy until it is clarified rapidly toward the end. This structure might be frustrating or boring in another writer's hands, but Aykol brings it off effectively through her attention to Kati's voice. Kati is never totally serious, always uses crime-fiction references in a way that is only half-serious in her pursuit of the truth, and always has her personal life on the front burner (she's currently without a lover, but keeping her options open, for example) and always in pursuit of the particular pleasures that keep her in Turkey rather than in her ethnic homeland, Germany.
The series isn't exactly cozy nor is it noir. Kati is always front and center, and a reader will know immediately whether he or she wants to spend a few hundred pages with her (as I have done with each installment). And the covers, by the way, are beautifully designed.