Zebercet owns a hotel in a small provincial town. He manages to keep it up with the help of one maid, a little girl who lives with him. One evening, one of the clients leaves the hotel, promising to return in a week. Haunted by the memory of the beautiful unknown, it leaves little to be gained by a little melancholy. Overwhelmed by his impulses, he refuses to take any clients, and closes the hotel.
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Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. Sort order. Start your review of Anayurt Oteli. Oct 14, Nathan "N. I have become a novelist by following their footsteps And I have not found it wanting. All three authors are more than worth your time. And worth much more than a bit of curiosity seeking from Turkey.
All three are Weltliterature. I'll eventually make a brush with Pamuk's fiction itself, of which I've been trustily informed that his The Black Book is his most worthwhile with My Name as Red remaining a candidate possibly. And I'll make some room too yet for Bilge Karasu's Night. This Turkish jaunt has been wonderful. Loneliness and alienation may be the keywords behind the way the protagonist acts and lets things go. Through most of the novel the leading question stays, like the sword of Damocles: what will the narration lead to.
But let me say this. Zebercet gets drawn into a wilderness, in his mind grows a hectic tension, a madness even. It was difficult to process the many characters, either in his swirl of memories or those he encounters in his ramble around the town's streets, and the overall effect is quite grim. This is well-written but not for those looking for an up read. Like many other periodization of Turkish history, is given as the starting point for this postmodernist turn.
That being said, much attention has been paid to those excellent examples of literary works which were written before postmodern avant la lettre.
Tutunamayanlar is a perfect case of this. Published in during the height of political polarization, the novel was derided by critics on the left as portraying petit-bourgeois mentality as universal while at the same time being o Like many other periodization of Turkish history, is given as the starting point for this postmodernist turn.
Published in during the height of political polarization, the novel was derided by critics on the left as portraying petit-bourgeois mentality as universal while at the same time being oblivious of the outside world.
It is appreciated now as one of the greatest of all Turkish novels. He was not alone. Some reviewers did not know what to make of the experimental style and dark theme of Anayurt Oteli, and it became the subject of heated literary polemics. The novel was found "obscene" and "isolated from Turkey's socio-political realities" by some. A recent collection produced by Istanbul Bilgi University entitled Zebercet'Ten Cumhuriyet'e From Zebercet the protagonist to the Republic compiles a range of new literary scholarship on Anayurt Oteli which addresses the repressive aspects of power and the state from several different angles.
Central in almost all of these readings is an understanding that the seemingly random and scattered events and objects in Anayurt Oteli are in fact carefully chosen and arranged in order to create a powerful allegory for the Turkish nation. His relationship to the two central female characters in the novel symbolize the modern Turkish subject, longing for the salvation of the modern—represented by the woman on the train to Ankara — and the eventual resignation to sleeping with the maid, who represents the backwards provincial Turk.
Zembercet represents the Turkish subject, the orderly and rational steward of the hotel who arranges the coming and goings of a wide-range of citizens, looking longingly towards the future and trying to be presentable and forward thinking.
Running a hotel is actually just like managing a foundation, a business, or a country. But if that is the case, then his disassociation and eventual descent into madness is a symbol for the ways in which the rational enlightenment subject of the Turkish nation is actually an illusion.
It is in reality a subjectivity plagued with libidinal desire, haunted by the obscure memories of their ancestors, and eventually overcome by paranoia and suicide. It is not Zembercet as a character represents the shallow, self-absorbed worldview of the petit bourgeois, but that as an unstable, fragmenting character he exposes the ideological illusion of rational subjectivity that lies at the foundation of the Kemalist project.
His hotel, handed down to him through generations of his maternal family, provides him all of the social outlet that he needs. As a result he gets a wide array of guests that include visitors to the town, lovers having illicit affairs and prostitutes servicing their customers. During the period of time during which the book is set he describes a myriad of characters who all book a room at The Motherland Hotel.
A married couple, who are local teachers, are staying at the hotel while they are looking for a permanent residence; a retired officer also stays for a week and sits in the hotel lobby reading for most of the day. There is an aura about this woman that absolutely captivates Zeberjet and he becomes obsessed with thoughts of her. She has promised to return in a week for another stay and he waits every day in eager anticipation of her return. He sits at the front desk most of the day waiting for guests to check in and in the evening he pays a little visit to the charwoman for some sexual pleasure.
Zeberjet is a man who adheres to the rigid schedule around which he has built his life but the appearance of the woman from Ankara completely throws him off balance. He stops his nocturnal visits to the charwoman and he ventures out of the hotel to visit the local tailor where he buys a new outfit.
The tension builds further in the narrative when Zeberjet starts spending hours away from the hotel which he closes for long periods of time. It is as if he discovers that closing himself up in that hotel for all of those years has not allowed him to live his life to the fullest and he is trying to make up for it. He eats meals out, starts drinking, goes to a cock fight, and meets a young man with whom he sees a movie. The contact that he has with the woman from Ankara, even though it was the briefest of encounters, is the catalyst that pushes him out into the world where he seeks out a different life that is far removed from his usual routines.
He begins dismantling his former self at first by no longer accepting guests at the hotel. The culminating and disturbing scene in which he further attempts to separate himself from his life is destructive and violent. As Zeberjet descends into madness, he narrates the stories of his family which reach back a few generations. His family history, which includes the hotel, has a deep and strong hold on him and in the end he feels he can only take desperate measures to finally free himself from his past.
But Atilgan uses this setting in an unusual way and makes the proprietor the focus of the narrative instead of the guests. Although this book was first published in it is still relevant as a chilling psychological study of one man whose existential crisis brings him to the point of violence and madness.
Dec 08, Inci rated it really liked it. Valuable to give you a picture of small-town Turkey. I found it challenging to read a book in which the suffering of women and boys was included purely as a device to explore the mental disturbance of the adult male protagonist - not with any exploration of the victims' experience or aftermath. Context of the times and all, I suppose. Apparently it used to be required reading on psychiatry courses. This was cool and weird, albeit unsettling.
The hotel clerk doesn't leave his workplace for 10 years, then becomes obsessed with a woman who stayed there for a night and loses it. He thinks about sex constantly because apparently banging the narcoleptic maid every morning isn't enough and gets lost in the past and the present. I think if I knew anything about Turkish history the occupation and liberation or culture I may have understood more, but perhaps not.
May 19, Engin Iyidogan rated it really liked it. The ones watched the movie first would be less impressed by the book. This story should have been visualised, and it is filmed, fortunately quite opposite of the traditional novel-to-movie critics. Zebercet is the true representative of bureaucratic and social inertia. Desperate people and some unfortunate events are described well. After reading this book, you might be pessimist. Use of a complicated language including full of long sentences for such ordinary people in a simple setting.
Informative work for understanding his style. Well written, slow moving and haunting. Subject matter is tired, but the book was written 40ish years ago. Jan 22, Onur Aydin rated it liked it. Its language is a bit too direct and explicit but a novel approach in the Turkish literature regardlessly.
SCREENING: ANAYURT OTELİ [MOTHERLAND HOTEL] (1986)
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Anayurt Oteli (Motherland Hotel)