Posted in Kirkcaldy at 12:00 on 28 February 2013
Archives » 2013 » February
Faber and Faber, 2005, 436p. Translated from the Turkish, Kar, by Maureen Freely
Turkish poet, Kerim Alakusoğlu, who dislikes his name and wishes to be known only as Ka, has returned temporarily from Germany to undertake an investigation for the Istanbul newspaper Republican into a spate of teenage girl suicides in the remote city of Kars in Anatolia and also to report on an upcoming election there. The suicides are by girls who were being forced to remove their headscarves in order to attend state run school. Also on Ka’s mind is the possibility of reacquainting himself with the beautiful İpek, recently divorced from her husband.
The situation he finds himself in unlocks Ka’s writer’s block and poems flow from him – 19 in the few days the story encompasses. He notes these down in a green notebook and assigns them to positions along three axes, Memory, Logic and Imagination, on a diagram of a snowflake.
The narrative is mostly third person from Ka’s viewpoint but chapter 29, where the snowflake appears, and the concluding ones are first person by the author.
Kars is one of those unfortunate places which has seen many upheavals and changes of country in its history. Local factions include Kurdish nationalists, Islamists, secularists, even a few die-hard communists from the Soviet era. Ka’s visit coincides with a snowstorm cutting Kars off from the rest of Turkey giving opportunity for the various simmering discontents to come to the boil. In the middle of a live TV broadcast of a stage show dealing with the headscarf issue a local coup takes place.
The importance of football in modern Turkey is underlined by its several mentions in this book (as it was also in the other two Pamuk novels I have read.) Not a typical reference to find in a literary novel. Imagine the guffaws were the Beautiful Game to feature with any prominence in a British novel by a Nobel laureate.
Another presence here common to those two previous books is the appearance in the narrative of a certain Orhan Pamuk, a friend of Ka and telling his story for him. Is this the secret to winning the Nobel Prize? Put yourself into your books as a character?
Due to its history the tension between religion and secularism is particularly intense in Turkey and it is no surprise the story turns on this. The propensity for such disagreements to turn into violence is given due weight here as is the potential for long memories and grudges to be held.
There is more incident in this novel than in The Museum of Innocence but the background of Turkish society continues to be fascinating and as in that book the translation flows admirably.
Posted in Kirkcaldy at 22:24 on 26 February 2013
This side of the ground houses the old main stand at Stark’s Park with its round-the-corner construction. I don’t think I’ve witnessed anything like this at any other football ground. I assume the line of the road prevented building beyond the halfway line.
This is the adjacent home stand, a clone of the McDermid Stand at the other end.
And here is the disused Railway Stand. Many supporters would like to see this opened up as terracing but the authorities in Scotland don’t go much for all-seated stadia reverting to standing. areas.
Note the state of the pitch last Saturday. It’s amazing football broke out at all.
I’ve not done one of these for a while – and I’ve just realised I haven’t included East End Park, Dunfermline, in this series yet.
Stark’s Park, the home of Raith Rovers FC, is of course the Scottish Football Ground nearest to where I live. Since I started blogging though the Sons have only played there twice (and the last time, Oct 2012, I was between cameras.)
This is from the lower end of Pratt Street. From this angle you can’t see how unusual the older stand is.
This is from the upper end, nearer to my house. The McDermid Stand is nearest in this view. The bit further away, to the left, is the peculiar corner stand.
And this is the away stand, the McDermid Stand, from Pratt Street, showing how close the road is to the ground.
I was never much into punk but I confess to a soft spot for Plastic Bertrand – mainly because heâs one of those famous Belgians there are supposed to be none of.
(Well he’s famous if you were around in the 70s.)
I was shocked on loading this video to discover the song was nothing to do with him; being both sung and composed by its producer Lou Deprijck.
Posted in Bridges at 22:55 on 20 February 2013
On the way back from Dalmeny though South Queensferry I noticed a new memorial. I mentioned in this post that there was a lack of a proper memorial to those who died while building the Forth Bridge.
That omission has now been rectified.
The Forth Bridge was opened in 1890 or so and it has taken until now to commemorate by name those who died in its building.
Posted in War Memorials at 12:00 on 19 February 2013
Dalmeny is up quite a steep hill from South Queensferry (then turn right and keep going for about half a mile.)
The War Memorial is at the one road junction in the village.
This side shows Great War names.
The North side has Second Word War names including a woman, Dorothy Morrison.
According to a comment on the Scottish War Memorials website Ms Morrison was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service and is buried in Queensferry Cemetery.
Posted in My Interzone Reviews at 12:00 on 18 February 2013
Just popped onto the doormat has been my latest Interzone review book, 800 words by the end of March. It’s Ian McDonald’s Planesrunner.
It’s a departure of sorts for him as it’s a “young adult” book. I don’t believe he’s done one of those before.
It seems to be a steampunk kind of thing. The obligatory airship features on its cover anyway.
Posted in Dumbarton FC at 20:02 on 17 February 2013
SFL Div 1, Stark’s Park, 16/2/13
An opportunity missed here, as we really should have got something from this game. Still, we were fielding a makeshift defence, including a 17-year old loanee at centre back.
The pitch was in a dreadful state, being heavily sanded, which affected the play at times but that was the same for both teams.
This was my first look at the Ian Murray galvanised team and we played some good stuff, knocked the ball about well – notwithstanding the pitch – and created good opportunities.
We were the better side in the first half and ought to have gone one up when debutant Nick Phinn delayed too long over a rebound and allowed the keeper to get into position to block his effort. Brian Prunty also blazed one over when he hurried his shot.
They scored when a man down as their defender had to go off to get a head wound bandaged up – bizarrely Jim Lister, also injured in the same incident, was not allowed by the referee to come back onto the pitch long after he was able to do so – our defence was drawn towards the ball and the back post was unguarded. Apart from that they had only one effort on target well saved by Stephen Grindlay.
Big Jim might have had a penalty if he’d gone down after the keeper caught him but he stayed on his feet, at the same time being forced wide, and the chance evaporated.
Prunty’s next effort was more measured. After receiving a great pass from Jim Lister he rifled it in off the post with almost the last kick of the half.
The second half was evens for a while. They scored again with a drive from the edge of the box, before Prunty equalised once more with a fine conversion after an assist from the bandaged centre back.
Raith had more of the last quarter but the killer goal was so late there was no coming back.
17 year old debutant Stuart Urquhart was not as raw as he might have been. Nick Phinn also had a reasonable debut (but should have scored.)
Earlier in the season with a makeshift team we’d have been pummelled. This felt like – it was – a point dropped.