‘In this masterful chronicle of Turkey, Genç sketches extraordinary lives in an extraordinary time. Intimate, intelligent, detailed, full of life: It will become a classic’—Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less and winner of 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction
‘The brilliant Kaya Genç returns again to examine modern Turkey with his blend of deep historical learning, on-the-ground reporting, and hard-won, convention-defying nuance’ —Molly Crabapple, contributor to The New York Review of Books and author of Drawing Blood
‘Kaya Genç is that rare beast: a freely operating Turkish writer… who is able to give you an eye-level view of what is happening in Turkey right now’ —Christopher de Bellaigue, contributor to The New York Review of Books and author of The Islamic Enlightenment
‘His interview with an octogenarian ex-bookshop owner is a fascinating sweep of Turkish history… Genç writes well about his own past, in particular his adolescent obsession with Marxism, which usefully grounds Turkish current affairs in the context of the past couple of decades and explains the attraction of extreme politics to the country’s youth – ‘Power became our obsession’. —The Times Literary Supplement
‘Explores Turkey’s conflicted soul’ —Index on Censorship
Amazon best-seller in Middle Eastern Literary Criticism section
Turkey is a land torn between East and West, and between its glorious past and a dangerous, unpredictable future. After the violence of an attempted military coup against President Erdogan in 2016, an event which shocked the world, journalist and novelist Kaya Genç travelled around his country on a quest to find the places and people in whom the contrasts of Turkey’s rich past meet. As suicide bombers attack Istanbul, and journalists and teachers are imprisoned, he walks the streets of the famous Ottoman neighborhoods, telling the stories of the ordinary Turks who live among the contradictions and conflicts of Anatolia, one of the world’s oldest civilizations. The Lion and the Nightingale presents the spellbinding story of a country whose history has been split between East and West, between violence and beauty – between the roar of the lion and the song of the nightingale.
Weaving together a mixture of memoir, interview and his own autobiography, Genç takes the reader on a contemporary journey through the contradictory soul of the Turkish nation.