Today I am joining the blog tour for Children of War which is a fiction story based on the Treaty of Lausanne. Translated from Turkish by Paula Darwish.
When I picked up this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, I was aware it had been translated from Turkish to English and had been drawn in by the blurb of a historical event I knew little about. The blurb indicates that although this a book of fiction it was written using a diary of a refugee family.
The story is powerful and I have learnt so much about what happened in Crete during this period. When reading this, it drives home the suffering families experienced during the early 1900’s and the importance of stories about these periods in our history to ensure it is never forgotten. Whilst reading Children of War we follow Hassanaki from childhood and see the trials and loss the Muslim Cretans faced as the power changes hands and they are faced with life changing decisions and the fear that become a constant in their lives.
Hassanakis is a young Muslim boy of Turkish descent growing up on Crete during WWI. Fifteen generations of his family have lived on the island and until now he has never had any reason not to think he is a Cretan. But with the Great Powers tussling over the collapsing Ottoman Empire and the island’s Christians in rebellion, an outbreak of ethnic violence forces his family to flee to the Cretan city of Chania. He begins to lay down roots and his snappy dress earns him the nickname of Hassan ‘the mirror’. As WWI draws to a close and the Turkish War of Independence rages, he begins a heady romance with the elegant Hüsniye. There are rumours that the Cretan Muslims will be sent to Turkey but Hassanakis can’t believe he will be sent to a country whose language he barely knows and where he knows no-one.
Available to purchase here
About the Author
Ahmet Yorulmaz was a Turkish a journalist, author and translator. He was born in Ayvalik to a family of Cretan Turks deported to mainland Turkey as part of the Greek-Turkish population exchange decreed in the Treaty of Lausanne. He was fluent in modern Greek and translated novels and poems from contemporary Greek literature to Turkish. Most of his original works were written with the aim of making people learn about Ayvalık, the city where he grew up. He dedicated himself to Greek-Turkish friendship and rapprochement.
About the Translator
Paula Darwish is a freelance translator and professional musician. She read Turkish Language and Literature with Middle Eastern History at SOAS in London graduating with a First in 1997. She is a qualified member of the Institute of Translators and Interpreters (MITI).
Many thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my copy of this book and the opportunity to read and review!