Money Djinns, Murathan Mungan
Metis Fiction
13 x 19.5 cm, 96 pp
ISBN No. 975-342-136-2

1st Print: February 1997
7th Print: November 2005
Murathan Mungan
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About the Author
One of the most prominent and prolific contemporary writers of Turkey, Murathan Mungan has published poetry, short stories, plays, novels, screenplays, radio plays, essays, film and theater criticism, and political columns. He has over fifteen poetry books, among them Osmanlıya Dair Hikâyat (Stories on the Ottomans, 1981), Metal (1994) and Yaz Geçer (Summer Too Passes, 1992) which has attained the status of a cult book due to its continuing popularity. A selection of his poems were translated and published in Kurdish as Li Rojhilatê Dilê Min (In the East of my Heart, 1996). His works have also been translated into Bosnian, Bulgarian, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Persian and Swedish. Most recently a selection of his short stories were published in German under the title Palast Des Ostens (2006) and his semi-autobiographical narrative Paranın Cinleri (Money Djinns, 1997) in Greek this year. An Italian translation of the same work is forthcoming. Also his 2004 novella Çador (Chador) will be published in French and Italian. Mungan’s trilogy of plays, “The Mesopotamian Trilogy” has enjoyed successful theater runs across the country and the last play of the trilogy, Geyikler Lanetler (Deer Curses, 1992) is on the 2007 program of the Arca Azzura Theater in Italy. His latest publications in Turkish are Kâğıt Taş Kumaş (Paper Stone Fabric, 2007) a play in three parts; Büyümenin Türkçe Tarihi (The History of Growing Up in Turkish, ed., 2007), a volume of short stories from the history of modern Turkish literature, edited in collaboration with the foremost literary critics in the country; and most recently, Yedi Kapılı Kırk Oda (Forty Rooms with Seven Doors, 2007), a book of short stories.
Other Books from Metis
Yaz Geçer (Summer Too Passes), 1992, poetry
Çador (Chador), 2004, novella
Geyikler Lanetler (Deer Curses, The Mesopotamian Trilogy III), 1992, play
Yüksek Topuklar (High Heels), 2002, novel
Kadından Kentler (Cities of Women), 2008, Short Stories

Click here for full Mungan list
Murathan Mungan
Money Djinns

Paranın Cinleri

Rights sold / published by:
Greek: Scripta
Italian: Giunti

A semi-autobiographical collection of ten texts written between 1988-96. In Mungan’s words, "It is hard to call this book a memoir, that’s too weak a genre for what it is. I did not set out wanting to write my memoirs. The narrational technique is quite dominant in this book. If you changed all the names in the book, including mine, you could call it a novel. I did not make a contract with a genre for what I wanted to do with this material. I just wanted to write down some of the memories that have left their traces on me and to see how they filter into my writing."
       For readers familiar with Mungan’s work, this book provides invaluable insight into the autobiographical origins of some of the themes and tropes in his literature. For the uninitiated it is a fascinating narrative on what constitutes an author, featuring tales of childhood, close relatives, the southeastern Kurdish-Arabic-Turkish city of Mardin, books, love affairs and old photos…
Money Djinns
Girl with Blue Beads
These Are No Longer
I’ve Always Remembered You On Moonlit Nights
Caption for Pevruze
Being Discovered
Opera and Others
Too Much Bravery Too Much Mercy Too Much Love
The Hidden Me
Nüket Esen, Modern Türk Edebiyatı Üzerine Okumalar, İletişim Yayınları, 2006.
"Taking Mungan’s ‘self’ and ‘authorship’ as its starting point, the book has much more to say about selfhood and authorship in general, and about the relationship between life and writing."

The first time I saw the Şahmeran’s image was on the wall of a house belonging to a primary school friend. The house was one of those old Mardin houses, whitewashed with a high dome and wide courtyards where less and less sun slipped through deep-set inner windows. The Şahmeran motif and the sad story of this twofold creature with a human head and serpent’s form, its body of bright red scales, moved me both visually and emotionally. Bewitched though I was I found it easier to see it as a religious superstition. For some incomprehensible reason we even formed a secret bond, yet I tried to keep it and its influence at a distance. But how could I help being enthralled by the myth when I breathed the same air, and shared the same environment and climate? Just as years later, when I was writing a long story called ‘Şahmeran’ın Bacakları’, (‘The Legs of the Şahmeran’) that whitewashed wall came between me and my past. Perhaps it had always been there.
       I saw it as a symbol of both sides, back and front.
       The face that aroused my curiosity most throughout my childhood, and that appeared, always veiled, in nearly every religious picture on the walls of every house in Mardin, was the face of the Prophet Mohammed. I believe that everything I’ve written and all my stories have been based on removing that veil (and all veils). What could be more understandable, living as we do in a world of images?
       We had a servant called Halise. I was eight and she was about fourteen. We had a relationship which depended on secrecy. When no one else was in the house we barred the door and made love. In a little while she told me her secret: she belonged to a mysterious order, whose sheikh or head lived in Syria. She told me that supernatural powers had been bestowed on one of the members of the sect, so that at night he could fly invisibly from one edge of the world to the other, in the twinkling of an eye. She asked me to keep all this to myself. I was so spellbound by this black magic that I begged to become a member of her secret sect. She was a girl of fertile imagination and told me colourful and amazing stories. At night she roamed the world. Istanbul, the deserts of Arabia, the glittering nights of Baghdad, and capital cities we had seen in European films…
       In that stone city where only steppe reached the horizon, people used to sit in the cool vaulted spaces that opened out to the courtyards of houses that neighboured the sun; in that parched silence they would listen to stories, and they believed the stories they told each other. In the heat of those scorching afternoons when nothing moved, not even time; on nights full of stars, the stories whispered from beds spread next each other on the rooftops or courtyards, brought the faraway near and made all dreams come true.
       I really believed Halise’s tales. All my life I have always believed in the marvellous. However, day by day, the conditions for my entering this religious order grew harder and the date of my initiation ceremony was always being postponed. It was a secret ceremony to be performed on my own in front of secret powers and invisible people from the order. My insistence must have been irresistible, for one day when no-one else was at home, she told me to get in the bath and perform the ritual ablutions. I obeyed and she added a few more details that she claimed were necessary for the ceremony. I followed these too, but meantime she continued to frighten me by threatening dire and dangerous ritual tortures which might make me think again. I said I could endure them all. Nothing would defeat me. My insistence scared her. We had reached the end –or the threshold– of the story. She had realised that when she ran out of stories her power over me would be shaken. Finally she said, ‘Soon a black serpent will appear, a şahmeran. Winding itself round your body, it will bite your navel and your flesh will burn, you will feel great pain but you mustn’t be afraid and you mustn’t scream. But after that, if you’re not afraid and you don’t scream, no snake will ever be able to poison you.’
       The snake story scared me and I capitulated. Halise was delighted and made her feelings more than clear. Perhaps she imagined her lies could not be discovered and that she could keep her hold over me as before. However, at that minute, I suddenly understood everything. For me the spell was broken and from that day onwards, I believed nothing Halise told me, which made her very unhappy.
       Now after so long, in trying to find a place for myself among the stories of today, perhaps I am still telling Halise’s stories.

Translated by Ruth Christie.
Longer sample manuscript available in English 

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