With great pleasure, the Yunus Emre Institute in London hosted its first ‘Meet the Author’ event of 2020 with the book launch of Ayfer Tunç’s new novel, ‘Madhouse’ in collaboration with Istros Books who translated the work. Starting with an introduction by Dr Mehmet Karakuş, the director of Yunus Emre Institute in London, and followed by a talk by Tunç which was moderated by Susan D. Curtis from Istros Books, this event attracted a large crowd who walked away with signed books and a new perspective into the history of Ottoman Madhouses.
On 12th March, Tunç introduced ‘The Highly Unreliable Account of the Brief History of a Madhouse’. This unputdownable novel moves at a giddying pace that takes the reader on a plot-twist-filled journey across centuries and continents. Defying spatial or temporal boundaries, this novel jumps between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries while moving between the Caucuses, Ottoman Empire and Republican Turkey, Hungary, France, Sweden and the USA.
In her fascinating exploration of the, in her opinion unprovable, ‘six degree of separation’ theory, Tunç follows and relates the lives of over 300 people, some entertaining others tragic. Tunç talks us through how these interwoven lives can be read to chart political and social turning points in Ottoman history. After reading out of a section from her book in both English and Turkish with the help of her translator Feyza Howell, there was a Q&A session and a book signing to complete the evening.
With the same elegant clarity of her book, Tunç leads the audience to face reality: today you are here, tomorrow you may not be.