“Ayşe Papatya Bucak's stories are wide-ranging and capacious, formally playful, and moving. They speak on behalf of women who are subject to fate and the tides of history. They speak of overcoming, of falling prey, of overcoming again. They convey history's full force, but also the individual's willfulness, cunning, and compassion. These stories are also entirely contemporary and unique.” —Joshua Ferris
A debut story collection of spectacular imaginative range and lyricism from a Pushcart Prize–winning author.
In Ayşe Papatya Bucak’s dreamlike narratives, dead girls recount the effects of an earthquake and a chess-playing automaton falls in love. A student stops eating and no one knows whether her act is personal or political. A Turkish wrestler, a hero in the East, is seen as a brute in the West. The anguish of an Armenian refugee is “performed” at an American fund-raiser. An Ottoman ambassador in Paris amasses a tantalizing collection of erotic art. And in the masterful title story, the Greek god Apollo confronts his personal history and bewails his Homeric reputation as he tries to memorialize, and make sense of, generations of war.
A joy and a provocation, Bucak’s stories confront the nature of historical memory with humor and humanity. Surreal and poignant, they examine the tension between myth and history, cultural categories and personal identity, performance and authenticity.