Metin Kaçan

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Metin Kaçan (b.1961, Kayseri, Turkey) is a Turkish author who is best known for his novels Ağır Roman (Cholera Street), and Fındık Sekiz. Ağır Roman has been translated into German (Kaçan 2003), and a movie (Ağır Roman), directed by Mustafa Altıoklar (1999), was based on it. Kaçan is also the author of a collection of short stories, "A ship to the Islands" (Adalara Vapur, Kaçan 2002), and a book written in a mixed style between prose and poetry, entitled "The tiger at Withdrawal" (Harman Kaplan, Kaçan 1999).

Much of Kaçan's writings deals with life in Istanbul, in particular its poor quarter Dolapdere (not far from Taksim square). To Dolapdere, he sarcastically gave the name "Cholera" (Kolera in Turkish) in Ağır Roman, thereby recalling both its shabbiness and the fact that the greatest Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz died there from the cholera in 1855. Mickiewicz´ museum at Dolapdere, still open to visitors today, figures in "Ağır Roman". The title of this novel plays ingeniously with the polysemy of the Turkish word Roman, which means both "gypsy" and "novel". Also, together with the adjective ağır, which means "heavy" or "slow" in Turkish, Roman is the designation for a special kind of street music, played by some of the novel's protagonists.

Ağır Roman tells the tragic story of a young hero who grows up in Cholera quarter but finally fails and commits suicide. His failure parallels the failure of the quarter itself, whose ancient structures as well as its multi-ethnic and multi-religious composition disintegrate.[1]

Fındık Sekiz tells a story about two cars, that appear sometimes as personified figures, and that take the semi-autobiographical protagonist Meto on a mystical journey. At the same time, Meto's conflict with a woman, who manages to have him thrown into prison through fraudulent statements, is related, which might reflect some of Kaçan's own experiences.[2]

Kaçan's style is heavily imbued with Turkish slang, which is called argo in Turkish (< French argot). This choice gives his writings a non-conformistic, frequently vulgar, but overall extremely vivid and creative tone, which has been hailed, among others, by Yıldız Ecevit.[3] Other characteristics of his writing are the personification of natural phenomena and inanimate items such as cars (in particular in Fındık Sekiz), autobiographical details (Kaçan grew up in Dolapdere), the blurring of the limitations of poetry and prose, and references to mysticism, in particular Muslim mysticism (Sufism). His best-selling novel,Ağır Roman is going to be translated to French by Actes Sud in 2010.

Literature by Metin Kaçan

  • Kaçan 2005. Kaçan,Metin: Cervantesin Yeğeni. Istanbul: Can Yayınları.
  • Kaçan 1995. Kaçan, Metin: Ağır Roman. Istanbul: Can Yayınları.
  • Kaçan 1997. Kaçan, Metin: Fındık sekiz. Istanbul: Can Yayınları.
  • Kaçan 1999. Kaçan, Metin: Harman Kaplan. Istanbul: Can Yayınları.
  • Kaçan 2002. Kaçan, Metin: Adalara Vapur. Istanbul: Can Yayınları.
  • Kaçan 2003. Kaçan, Metin: Cholera Blues. Berlin: Dağyeli.
  • Kaçan 1991. Kaçan,Metin,Aratan,Kemal: İstedikleri yere gidenler. Istanbul: Joker Yayınları.
  • Kaçan 1989. Nickname: Jaklaban-Andante: Grafitti. Istanbul: Joker Yayınları.
  • Kaçan 2008. Kaçan,Metin: Haselnuss 8. Berlin,Dağyeli.

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