A town is the mangle of life.
The stories telling about a town attract me, and this was no different with Gönül Kıvılcım’s collected stories Small Town Lies.
When reading, I found the nightmare of the town life, the fossiled relationships, the conjugal lives without love, stories of gossip, of those looking for the exit, those who always push the doors with their souls, their bodies and their sexualities, very successful.
I recognised Tomris Uyar’s skill in Gönül Kıvılcım’s language which carries a secret irony within it.
Let’s remember the important ones among our writers who have placed the town in literature history, and who have turned town-dwellers into a protagonist:
Walnut Garden and Green Shadow by Kemal Bilbaşar are very successful works of the projection of politics on the town.
A Broken Love Story by Selim İleri, which was filmed from its screenplay I cannot forget, is a sensitive critique of hypocritical town morality.
Mine by Necati Cumali voices people’s judging love with rustic morality. Atıf Yılmaz has adapted it into a movie and Türkan Şoray and Cihan Ünal have starred in it.
The town and the village is a fresh subject entering our novels and stories in the recent years again.
Young writers do not get stuck in the mold of a social realist world view, which is very different from that of the older generation. They write starting from the factor of human being without covering themselves under a literary movement.
I can easily say that this new view of village and town in Turkish literature is successful and that these new writers have brought a different approach.
I think the words at the beginning of books reflect upon the work. The words Gönül Kıvılcım has quoted on the first page of her book are from Roland Barthes:
‘In fact, only the motherland of childhood exists.”
As you read the stories, you will notice that they make you feel the truth of these words in everl line.
A piece from Fly Fly Child, Fly summarizes the general mood of the book:
‘My childhood is like silent shoes in front of the door. The town I was born in, the streets, the house with a porch. Wide open squares, ratty parks and the primary school building. They are buried in a silence whose double is not seen in daily life. I am pacing the roads of the town. Down and up. Up and down. To wake up the town which is as quiet as a sleeping boy.’
Kıvılcım knows the importance of narration in details very well. For instance the sentence “a woman in the opposite apartment is shaking a machine-woven carpet.” defines the economic condition and status of the family.
Sex is written from an erotic dimension. I have always liked the reflection of the sexual potential carried by closed lives in the town on literature:
‘The women of the town are passing some wet underwear to each other. A boy’s wet pants’.
I cannot enter the labyrinth of my childhood without touching some underwear.’
The story I like most in the book is Small Town Lies.
I think Kıvılcım transfers the suffocating atmosphere of the town and the place of a child in a family order which is about to be collapsed by a little shaking.
Which town is she telling about?
‘I am approaching the town. I have already left the Kızılırmak River behind. The sign on the highway informs me that I am moving inside the limits of a town with a specific name. Of a town whose population consists of the people coming here upon compulsory service.’
Second lovers in the town…
Shall we call it forbidden love or interpret it as an incongruous air bleed or summarize it as sexual havens of escape?
Cage Mouse Salih brings out the human factor behind the murder news on the newspaper.
Gönül Kıvılcım gives importance to the detailed worlds behind the people in the event.
‘Yes, M. Hızlı killed S. Çalışkan whose pigeons he stole.’
The writer touches on the human texture behind that:
‘Mustafa’s intimate friendship with Salih, all the sweet-talk he had in order to educate him as a skillful birdman in spite of all his doubts, their drinking talks on the patio, their passion colouring their womenless lives, the hesitation they had while attempting to steal, while murdering were not mentioned at all. So the news was sulken, rigid and away from the softness of life.’
Yes, the softness of a life in some murder news.
There are seven stories in Small Town Lies: ‘Fly Fly Child, Fly’, ‘Small Town Lies, ‘Cage Mouse Salih’, ‘Swing in the River’, ‘A Trip to Childhood’, ‘Seasickness’, ‘Civil Servant’.
Those who realize that they live in the House of Lies, those who can confess that and those who shut this in their sub-conscious.
You will like the stories.