Author and former actress Sedef Ecer writes about the relationship between a mother and her daughter during difficult political times.
The history of the Turkish Republic – which will celebrate its centenary next year – is cyclical in its upheavals. Coups and attempted coups are reference points, they have embedded themselves in the collective memory, not only influencing the development of the state, but also shaping families, dividing them, and wounding them. “MomWhat’s happening in Turkey,” Hulya, who lives in Paris, asked her mother in Istanbul when fighter jets flew over the city in July 2016. “I have no idea,” the old lady answered succinctly, “Most likely another coup.”
Another coup that gives a new touch to the history of the Hulia family; Previously distant and alienated from her mother, she built a very French life in France, in contrast to that of her mother, one of the Republic’s most dazzling film actresses, the “Sultan of the Screen”. Now Israa Zaman is ill as she prepares for her princely funeral, and her daughter is supposed to write the eulogy. Hulya now has to deal with her past, with her supervillain mother, with her father’s disappearance after one of the coups. Eser tells a visceral Turkish story in All the Women You were where memories fade between the sometimes brutal reality and the screen – the world of Turkish film shaped generations to the core. Although Esser’s characters lack depth, she makes for a beautiful and thoroughly objective narrative.
Sedef Ecer: “All women are you”, translated by Sonja Fink, Piper-Verlag, 288 pages, € 24.70
(“Die Presse,” print edition, 04.12.2022)
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