The title of a rather cheesy song by a Swedish girl called Emilia that was a big hit somewhere in the late nineties. More than ten years down the line it still pops up in my head every now and again. In spite of being a big girl these days, it still is a big, big world too. Which I find hugely fascinating yet intimidating at occassions...

Thursday, 5 August 2010


İ surely am a sucker for books with a good story. Books in general are indispensable in life. Books are one's best friend: at a very early age İ learned that with a book, you're never lonely. With age, İ seemed to loose the ability to loose myself in a story a bit. Why? Perhaps age. The world around holds astonishes me far less than it used to. And so does a story. With some exceptions. İsabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Yashar Kemal, to name a few. And İ have to admit that the first two episodes of the Harry Potter saga had me under their spell. That is, until İ got fed up with Quidditch...

Now Bliss. İ got a hold of this book by Livanelli in Çeşme. İn a country such as Turkey you can't be too picky when looking for a non Turkish book, so İ though "why not?" And a good choice it was, especially since one of my goals for this vacation was read, read, read. İ couldn't put this one down!

Livaneli is not famous for his writing alone, but also as an accomplished musician and film director. A politically engaged one for that matter. During the coup of 1971he was incarcerated and after that lived in exile in Sweden, France and Greece for years, only to return to his native country Turkey in 1984. To my (Dutch) opinion this isn't a political book, but it's undeniably there all the time: political contrasts between people. As an independent member of parliament Livaneli must surely know what can/cannot be said.

Meryem is only an innocent fifteen year old girl when her uncle, a prominent leader of a dervish order first rapes her and then, as the leader of the clan, sentences her to death for shaming the family. His son Cemal, suffering from posttraumatic stress after returning from fighting the PKK during his militairy service in the far east of the country is appointed to carry out the act. İnitially he doesn't see any problem in acting out this honor killing, but at the 'moment supreme' finds himself unable to do so. There's nothing left to do for the two of them but to flee together.
This takes them to the Aegean Coast where this strange duo, that absolutely cannot communicate with one another meets the professor. He manages to get Meryem out of her shell, but also represents a world that causes for Cemal to withdraw even further within himself and his memories. The three main characters will influence one another's destinies in a way that none of them could have imagined. Personally, İ found it very gratifying that the one that didn't seem to have a life ahead of her ends up as the only one living in bliss.

Read it! İ will definitely try and get a hold of the film upon return..

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