Memed, My Hawk

Memed, My Hawk

Paperback New York Review Books Classics

By (author) Yashar Kemal, Translated by Edouard Roditi

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  • Publisher: The New York Review of Books, Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 371 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 198mm x 23mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 15 August 2005
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 159017139X
  • ISBN 13: 9781590171394
  • Edition statement: Translation
  • Sales rank: 138,839

Product description

A tale of high adventure and lyrical celebration, tenderness and violence, generosity and ruthlessness, "Memed, My Hawk" is the defining achievement of one of the greatest and most beloved of living writers, Yashar Kemal. It is reissued here with a new introduction by the author on the fiftieth anniversary of its first publication. Memed, a high-spirited, kindhearted boy, grows up in a desperately poor mountain village whose inhabitants are kept in virtual slavery by the local landlord. Determined to escape from the life of toil and humiliation to which he has been born, he flees but is caught, tortured, and nearly killed. When at last he does get away, it is to set up as a roving brigand, celebrated in song, who could be a liberator to his people--unless, like the thistles that cover the mountain slopes of his native region, his character has taken an irremediably harsh and unforgiving form.

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Author information

Yashar Kemal (b. 1922) was born into a Kurdish family in a village in southern Anatolia and saw his father brutally murdered at the age of five, which left him with a severe stutter for years to come. He received his basic education in village schools before working as a farmer, factory worker, public letter-writer, and journalist. "Memed, My Hawk," his first novel, was published in 1955 and won the Varlik Prize for best novel of the year. Kemal's numerous other books include "The Wind from the Plain" trilogy, "Salman the Solitary," "Seagull," and four books recounting the exploits of Memed, including, "Memed, My Hawk" and "They Burn the Thistles." Yashar Kemal lives in Istanbul. Edouard Roditi (1910-1992) was born in France. He was an author of poetry and stories, as well as a translator of writings originating in French, German, Spanish, and Turkish.

Review quote

"Some books are so famous they need no introduction. But have you ever read Yashar Kemal? His first novel, Memed, My Hawk (NYRB Classics), set in the south-east of Turkey and about a young man at war with feudal authority, was published in the 1950s and brought him international fame. It is still greatly loved in Turkey, and with good reason." --"The Guardian" "Yashar Kemal is one of those writers who is content with the patch of earth allotted by birth. As in the case of Faulkner, Akhmatova, or even Joyce, all the events described circle around the site of an early injury. These writers evoke landscapes containing people who, however lost they may be in their marginal existences, fix their gaze upon the center of the world and take up residence there. [Kemal is driven to] write against the age and to tell those stories that have not been elevated to the status of affairs of state because they deal with people who never sat on high, who did not dominate but rather were themselves dominated."--Gunter Grass "Yashar Kemal is a thousand kilometres tall and can make a story of two stones tender and spellbinding. A master."--John Berger "A beautiful and passionate book . . . in the tradition which gave us Dr Zhivago and The Leopard." --Glasgow Herald "A tale that assumes epic proportions and gathers speed to rush to a spectacular climax." -- "Daily Telegraph " "A beautiful novel in the old, glorious tradition of heroic storytelling." --"Scotsman " "Follows in that tradition of strong, simple novels about the life of the peasantry. It has that insider's feeling for man, the oppressed, labouring animal . . . you might find in Tolstoy, Hardy or Silone. The author never loses his freshness, an ability to pick on details as though seen for the first time." --"Guardian " "Yashar Kemal achieves the Russian quality -- an intimacy of detail which makes his etching indelible, more selected, and therefore more obvious than life . .