How to Lose a Language

Kaya Genç at The Point:

In a 2017 essay for the magazine Fare, Ayşegül Savaş described a game she played as a high school student in Istanbul. She and a friend strapped on backpacks and pretended to be foreigners in Istanbul’s tourist quarter. The purpose of “the tourist game,” Savaş remembered, “was to talk to people in English of varying accents, throwing in a handful of mispronounced Turkish words.” They asked locals for directions to Istanbul landmarks, had their pictures taken in front of palaces and felt “overjoyed when our identities were not revealed, all the more if anyone showed an interest in us and asked where we were from.” The game, Savaş explained, “made us feel like we were in control while giving us the freedom to explore as we pleased; our city took on new wonder when viewed from the imaginary foreign gaze.”

In Walking on the Ceiling, Nunu fears silence more than anything else, and as the novel chronicles her reckoning with the silence of her parents, Savaş invents a different kind of game to explore an equally heavy silence associated with the author’s mother tongue.

more here.