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Waiting for the Fear (Paperback)

Waiting for the Fear By Oguz Atay, Ralph Hubbell (Translated by), Merve Emre (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Oguz Atay, Ralph Hubbell (Translated by), Merve Emre (Introduction by)
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Short stories about people on the margins, from story peddlers to beggars, by one of Turkey's most innovative fiction writers, now in a new English translation.

Adored in Turkey for his post-modern fiction and regarded internationally as one of Turkey’s greatest writers, Oğuz Atay remains largely untranslated into English. First published in 1975, Waiting for the Fear is Atay's only collection of short stories, a book that is routinely praised in Turkey, by, among others, the Nobel Prizewinner Orhan Pamuk, for having transformed the art of short fiction.

The eight stories that the book contains, all of them focused on characters living on the margins of society, are dramatic and even tragic, while also being shot through with irony and a humor. In the title story, a nameless young man, of a thoughtful and misanthropic turn of mind, returns to his home on the outskirts of an enormous nameless city to find waiting for him a letter in a foreign language of which he has no knowledge at all, and from this anomalous, if seemingly trivial, turn of events, one thing after another unfolds with stark inevitablity. Another story nods to Gogol's "The Overcoat": its hero is a speechless beggar wandering around the back streets of Istanbul dressed in a woman’s fur coat who will end up stuck in a shop window like a manikin. Elsewhere, a professional story peddler lives in a hut beside a train station in a country that is at war—unless it isn't. He can't remember. What do such life and death realities matter, however, so long as there are stories to tell? Atay's stories are full of a vivid sense of life's absurdities while also being psychologically true to life; his characters, oddballs and losers all, are also utterly individual with distinctive voices of their own, now plainspoken, wistful, womanly, now sophisticated and acerbic, with a dangerous swagger. And if Atay is a brilliant examiner of the inner life, he is no less aware of the flawed social world in which his people struggle to make their way

Waiting for the Fear is a book that, page by beguiling page, holds the reader's attention from beginning to end, the rare collection of short stories that not only reflects a unique authorial vision but reads like a pageturner. Ralph Hubbell's new translation will introduce readers of English to a still insufficiently known giant of modern Turkish and world literature.

About the Author

Oğuz Atay (1934–1977) was a Turkish modernist writer. His experimental, linguistically complex novels earned him a reputation as one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century Turkish literature and a pioneer of the modern Turkish novel. He published two novels in the 1970s, The Disconnected and Dangerous Games, and wrote several other short stories and plays.

Ralph Hubbell is a translator of Turkish literature and writer. His fiction, essays, and translations have appeared in the Sun, Los Angeles Review of Books, Tin House, Asymptote, and elsewhere. He teaches at Loyola University Maryland and lives in Baltimore.

Merve Emre is the author or editor of several books, including Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America, The Ferrante Letters, The Personality Brokers, and The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway. She is a contributing writer at The New Yorker and her essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Review of Books, Harper's, The Atlantic, The London Review of Books and many other publications. She teaches at Wesleyan University.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781681377964
ISBN-10: 1681377969
Publisher: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: August 20th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English