Nâzım Hikmet: Yaşamak Güzel Şey Be Kardeşim (Life’s Good, Brother)

The latest addition to my website is Nâzım Hikmet‘s Yaşamak Güzel Şey Be Kardeşim (Life’s Good, Brother). Nâzım Hikmet is perhaps Turkey’s best-known poet but he was also a communist. This book is a fictionalised autobiography of his life and is generally agreed to be his best prose work. It was written while he was very ill and he died well before it was published. Indeed, it was first published in Russian translation and then in French translation. It is primarily set in Izmir in 1925, when he was in hiding from the police, trying to publish an underground newspaper, and was bitten by a dog and was worried he might have rabies. However, we also follow his time in Moscow, where he was more interested in Anushka than in politics, the period soon after World War I, when the occupying Allied powers were the enemy and, in particular, his time in prison later, where he was tortured and given a fake execution. Hikmet jumps around in time and place, and from first to third person but writes so well that that is barely a distraction.

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