Memed, My Hawk by Jasjar Kemal.

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After having read so much serious and factual material it felt strange to embark on a work of fiction. In many ways it reminded me of watching a piece of drama while downing popcorn which is something I seldom do. The book feels long and is probably of interest to those who enjoy easy escapism into a distant slightly altered reality. Kemal offers a very amusing portrayal of “the people;” meaning the wavering of opinions and general dodging of uncomfortable confrontations – even if it results in the imprisonment of an innocent. The work features a villain who abuses the villagers under his command; rather than a cry for political reform (which could have been his intent), the author offers an excellent assortment of different characters with opposing temperaments and traits, a talent that will always stand the test of time as social structures and how they are applied are merely a reflection of “the tribe” inhabiting and operating said system rather than a total result of “capitalism” or “feudalism”or any other structure in and of itself – unless the social construct is the design of said group in addition. In which case the whole package reflects the ethnicity behind it a 100%. One must be careful to blame religion for example as the sole catalyst for warfare historically, which is an absolute incorrect assumption many hold. The only way that war, conflicts or suffering could potentially/theoretically be avoided would be through the drastic genetic alteration of “man,” which goes to show you how awkward it is to believe in a “peaceful state of nature.” The State of Nature is violent and brutal;  injustice is therefore something that we should expect, as even a “just society” where everyone reaps what they’ve sown will be fundamentally unequal. Something to think about for those who believe that the simple removal of capitalism, for example, with the introduction of absolute communism will create some sort of utopian state….

This book came into my possession thanks to my grandfather, who insisted that I had to take it with me last time I visited him. The work literally smells like my granddad’s old apartment so it has a personal, nostalgic value for sure. My copy of “Memed, My Hawk” has been translated from its original Turkish to Norwegian – which is important for me obviously, since I live abroad speaking and writing in another language! My copy was published in 1971 by Aschehoug. There seems to be some text missing in the middle of the work, I assume this must have fallen out during the translation/printing. There are also some very apparent typos in this section as well, but these obvious flaws are reserved for a relatively small portion of the book.

Some quotes I enjoyed from these 294 pages:

“Ethvert menneske vokser til og utvikler seg i overensstemmelse med den jordbunn det er født på.”

“Bare drømmene levde. Den menneskelige innbilningskraft kjenner ingen grenser, uansett hvor snevert synsfeltet er.”

“Når et menneske snakker, er faren at det skal gå til grunne av sorg, allerede halvveis overvunnet.”

“Mennesket går med åpne øyne i døden.”

“Og da tankene hans først hadde sprengt den trange livssirkelen som den skjebnebestemte maktesløsheten satte opp, så ble det også lidenskapeligere.”

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