Sevgi Soysal: Şafak (Dawn)

The latest addition to my website is Sevgi Soysal‘s Şafak (Dawn). The story, partially based on the author’s own life is set in Adana, where Oya is in internal exile after a spell in prison. The period is during the Turkish military giovernment in 1971, when martial law has been imposed. She is invited to share a family meal with a lawyer, Hüseyin, and his extended family. However, the police raid the house and arrest Oya and all the men. The police are threatening and vicious but we also see their point of view and they are insecure, and worried about their superiors and the rich and powerful. They use threats and violence. The novel ends at dawn the next day when we see the workers working while the rich stay in bed. Soysal tells a feminist story – the women are generally badly treated – but she is also sympathetic to the workers, all too often exploited without recourse and subject to arbitrary and cruel laws.

Leave a comment