Snapping Point, Aslı Biçen
Metis Fiction
13 x 19.5 cm, 320 pp
ISBN No. 975-342-655-8

1st Print: January 2008
Aslı Biçen
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About the Author
Born in Bursa in 1970, Aslı Biçen studied English Literature at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. She is the co-founder of Çev-Bir (Book Translators' Association) and has translated the works of many important authors into Turkish, among them Dickens, Faulkner, Rushdie, Durrell and John Berger. Her first work of fiction Elime Tutun (Hold My Hand) was published in 2005. Her novel İnceldiği Yerden (Snapping Point) received the 2009 Book of the Year Award given by the literature and book clubs of highschools in Izmir. Her most recent novel is Tehdit Mektupları (Threat Letters).
Aslı Biçen
Snapping Point

İnceldiği Yerden
Aslı Biçen tells us a semi-fantastic story that takes place in an imaginary town, which "would have been a regular island, but for that slender connection with the mainland."

The story develops around three main characters, two of them human: Gentle, mild-mannered grocer Cemal, who spent the past two decades searching for his missing father around the country, and Jülide, an orphaned schoolgirl, whose serenity conceals an extraordinary control over inanimate objects. The third is the peninsula itself, remarkable for more than the slim- mest of isthmuses. This peculiar landmass is shaped like a dual cone, rising to a peak above the town, but unbeknownst to all, tapering below the waterline, the iceberg of pumice stone an- chored by an equally slender neck.

Cemal is getting ready to marry his childhood sweetheart, as Jülide prepares to free herself from her increasingly controlling boyfriend. The one thing Cemal and Jülide share is their appar- ent weakness.

Prompted by incontrovertible proof of his father's duplicity and his widow's pleadings, Cemal sets off for Istanbul to deliver his half-sister from the clutches of her pimp. Jülide's part-time work at the local newspaper begins to open her eyes to politics.

Cemile, the half-sister, returns home and promptly begins an unashamedly overt affair with the local police chief. The mere idea of marriage (and children) begins to strain Cemal's affec- tionate fiancée. Jülide breaks up with Erkan, only to discover he's determined not to let her go. Muzaffer, the editor of the local paper, finds herself in hot water for her investigative work on corruption. Cemile's former pimp joins the ranks of stalkers in the town.

A bizarre earthquake unexpectedly sets the landmass afloat on the Aegean, kindling a series of increasingly oppressive measures by the authorities, ostensibly to keep public order. As Andal›ç drifts between Greece and Turkey, and life becomes ever more intolerable for the inhabitants, Cemal and Jülide eventually summon their own resolve and join the growing re- sistance. Even nature ultimately lends a helping hand, offering a secret underground system that plays its part in ousting the tyranny.

What begins as the realistic tale of a provincial town develops into a richly detailed political novel in a fantastic setting.

Biçen's dreamy language weaves a flowing style that transports the reader into every nook and cranny of Andal›ç and into the crystal clear waters of the Aegean; her metaphors are im- aginative, observations insightful, and descriptions melodious.

The title alludes to a Turkish idiom that means "let it go". If something has worn away sufficiently to snap off, it may be better to let it go. This is true of physical geography as it is of human relationships.

The most pertinent manifestation, however, lies in the refusal of outwardly diffident characters to keep bending indefinitely: even the gentlest of persons can only be pushed so far, and no more.

-Sample translation available.


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