Sait Faik Abasiyanik was born in Adapazari in 1906 and died of cirrhosis in Istanbul in 1954. He wrote twelve books of short stories, two novels, and a book of poetry. His stories celebrate the natural world and trace the plight of iconic characters in society: ancient coffeehouse proprietors and priests, dream-addled fishermen adn poets of the Princes' Isles, lovers and wandering minstrels of another time. Many stories are loosely autobiographical and deal with Sait Faik's frustration with social convention, the relentless pace of westernization, and the slow but steady ethnic cleansing of his city. His fluid, limpid surfaces might seem to be in keeping with the restrictions that the architects of the new Republic placed on language and culture, but the truth lies in their dark, subversive undercurrents. Sait Faik donated his estate to the Daruşafaka foundation for orphans, and this foundation has since been committed to promoting his work. His former family home on Burgazada was recently restored, and now functions as a museum honoring his life and work. He is still greatly revered: Turkey's most prestigious short story award carries his name and nearly every Turk knows by heart a line or a story by Sait Faik.
About the Author
Sait Faik's career marked a fascinating moment in Turkish culture in the 1930s and 40s when the secular, post-Ottoman sensibility placed new demands on the writing of literature. Turkish critics and readers regard him as their finest short story writer, a Turkish Chekhov. While Sait Faik was a talented poet, he preferred the mode of fiction, and his intuitive sense for poetry pervades his stories. Like Chekhov, Sait Faik's characters come to life on the page--we meet Armenian fishermen, Greek Orthodox priests, and the disillusioned and disenfranchised, their complicated emotions, thoughts, and conditions, without ever compromising the full range of their humanity.
About the Translators:
Alex Dawe has co-translated with Maureen Freely Tanpinar's "The Time Regulation Institute," for which he won a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. Maureen Freely is an American journalist, novelist, professor, and translator. She is a contributor to "The Guardian," "The Independent," and "Cornucopia," and is the author of "The Life of the Party" and "The Other Rebecca." She is best known for having translated Orhan Pamuk's recent novels: "The Black Book," "Snow," "The Museum of Innocence," and others.