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Kerem Eksen, who in his books looks at the social through personal problems, approaches the problems of everyday life from a broader perspective in his new novel A Place Far From Death. The novel, whose layers are interwoven with themes of death, fatherhood and existentialism, focuses on death and life.
“I always said my child would bring good luck, but it didn’t happen; He brought more, and then he took luck.”
Kerem Eksen meets his readers again after a long time with his third novel “A Place Far From Death” after “We Are Here” and “Sleep Kingdom”. In this new novel, Axis not only lives up to the expectations of its loyal readers, it goes far beyond. Kerem Eksen, who in his books tries to look at the social through personal human problems, approaches the problems of everyday life from a broader perspective in his new novel. The novel, whose layers are interwoven with themes of death, fatherhood and existentialism, focuses, as the name suggests, on death and therefore life. It opens with death and closes with death. The ordinariness of life is surprisingly normal, while death itself is so mysterious. While the ordinariness of everyday life flows naturally, there is another flow to higher devotion in the shadow of another possibility, far removed from it.
When I started A Place Far From Death, I remembered Doris Lessing’s novel The Fifth Child, which I had read a long time ago. The novel focuses on the chain of strangeness that begins with an expected new life, a baby, and what that life brings that exceeds expectations. Said learns that he will have a child with the woman he loves. The dream of a happy marriage and family becomes a reality with the arrival of his son Yusuf. But as soon as Yusuf was born, both Sait and his wife Ömür started crying, then restless. Expected to double the family happiness, the baby opens the doors of mysticism and brings nothing but misfortune and intimidation to the family for the first few months after its birth. Until the moment they realized Yusuf was a different kid.
Yusuf takes all the deadly evil and saves his mother’s life by rubbing his mother Ömür’s recurring malignant mole. In fact, Yusuf prolongs Ömür’s life when he was a baby. Then life moves on with the acceptance of that child as “special”, the arrival of the second child and then its sudden loss. The reader wanders through the mind of Sait, who questions his relationship with his own father through his daily problems, routine life, and the back and forth between school and home. Meanwhile, Yusuf is growing up. In the growth process, extraordinary events do not follow one another as the reader might expect. On the contrary, the reader continues to look at ordinary life in all its speed and routine. The language and communication style Sait introduces with his son sometimes turns into a flurry with his desire to be a “better father” and the inconsistency in his practice. We understand that Yusuf always had a different and closer relationship with his mother Ömür and one day Ömür dies. Life goes on, with Sait’s old age and Yusuf’s youth. Then we realize that Yusuf is trying to determine his own destiny. He’s chasing the disharmony he’s sensed from the start. He disappears to find himself. This strangeness, which he cannot name, becomes his own journey. Although his father found out too late, he explains to Yusuf what happened and what condition he felt as a “special child” for his son before his mother’s death. So Yusuf, having found the answer he was looking for, embarks on this journey.
The novel begins with what Sait remembers and remembers from his father’s death and ends with another death, his own death. Existential questions along the line between death and life, what death brings and leaves behind, are among the main layers of the novel. The soft and calm rhythm of Kerem Eksen’s flowing language and narration meets a theme that beats life in the same rhythm. Its layered fiction and the details it contains from time to time maintain the reader’s sense of reality while maintaining the novel’s suspense.
A PLACE OF DEATH
Yapı Kredi Publications,