By Leylâ Erbil
Translated by Amy Spangler and Nermin Menemencioğlu
The pioneering debut novel by one of Turkey's most radical female authors tells the story of an aspiring intellectual in a complex, modernizing country.
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
In English at last: the first novel by a Turkish woman to ever be nominated for the Nobel. A Strange Woman is the story of Nermin, a young woman and aspiring poet growing up in Istanbul. Nermin frequents coffeehouses and underground readings, determined to immerse herself in the creative, anarchist youth culture of Turkey’s capital; however, she is regularly thwarted by her complicated relationship to her parents, members of the old guard who are wary of Nermin’s turn toward secularism.
In four parts, A Strange Woman narrates the past and present of a Turkish family through the viewpoints of the main characters involved. This rebellious, avant-garde novel tackles sexuality, the unconscious, and psychoanalysis, all through the lens of modernizing 20th-century Turkey. Deep Vellum brings this long-awaited translation of the debut novel by a trailblazing feminist voice to US readers.
“How odd that a writer who first started making her mark in 1956 should remain a pioneer still today… How odd that, even after half a century, no writer capable of surpassing her has yet appeared…” —Mahmut Temizyürek
“Leylâ Erbil is a consummate literary artist.” —Turkish National Committee for UNESCO
Nominated for the Nobel Prize for “her mastery in Turkish language and literature, her unique world that she creates in her works through her creative language and the universality of this world, her contribution to arts and also her sensitive intellectual manners for ordinary people, life, and world.” —Turkey PEN
"Menemencioğlu’s lines request multiple readings, not so much for slowing down the reading as for sharpening the lens on an image that refuses to focus. As a result, there is a ghostly feeling in the lines, the haunting possibility of more." —Marina Manoukian, Full Stop
One of the most influential Turkish writers of the 20th century, Leylâ Erbil was an innovative literary stylist who tackled issues at the heart of what it means to be human, in mind and body. Erbil ventured where few writers dared to tread, turning her lens to the tides of social norms and the shaping of identities, focusing intently on emotional conflict, and plumbing the depths of history and psyche. In 2002 and 2004 Erbil was nominated as candidate for the Nobel Literature Prize by Turkey PEN. She died in Istanbul in 2013.