The Well of Trapped Words

A General Theory of Oblivion

Author: Sema Kaygusuz

Translator: Maureen Freely

Original language: Turkish

Published by: Comma Press, 2015

A collection of stories by award winning writer, Sema Kaygusuz.

The characters in Sema Kaygusuz’s stories often burn with a conviction only they possess: an old man wakes from a dream one morning with a vision of where water can be found after years of drought; a grandmother claims she regularly entertains a snake in her yard, who tells her stories in a language only she understands; a woman responds to the death of her auntie by insisting she hasn’t really died… Elsewhere, it is a darker secret these characters’ carry, one that can only be revealed through a process of profound metamorphosis – either literally, like the reclusive old man who begins to acquire injuries he claims he’s always had, or in terms of their revealed histories, as their past is peeled away, layer after layer. Blending mysticism and modernity, Kaygusuz’s stories demonstrate why she is regarded as one of the most promising writers in Turkey today.

“With diaphanous, almost transparent language, Kaygusuz transforms each narrative into a dazzling, dream-like folktale. Her incantations seem to whistle around our ears, as if picked up by swirling winds.” – André Clavel in Lire