A marvelous resource by a wonderful writer and tireless champion of literature’ —Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot

‘I finished reading Under the Shadow a while ago, but haven’t stopped thinking about it. It’s such an incisive, passionate, moving book, the best thing I’ve read in quite some time. For whatever it’s worth I’m reasonably well informed about world events but Under the Shadow increased my knowledge of Turkey, from its politics to its people, by approximately ten fold. We need books like it in order to get a fuller picture, certainly fuller than the news can provide, of life and crisis, of how life and crisis co-exist, in places where we do not live ourselves’ —Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours

‘Necessary reading on Turkey’ —Basharat Peer, author of Curfewed Night

Kaya Genç‘s words always touch a hidden truth in things’Jenny White, author of The Sultan’s Seal

Such an achievement’ —Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood

Kaya Genç converses across borders, while forging his own distinct voice and perspective and challenging dominant narratives’  —Maureen Freely, author of The Enlightenment

Kaya Genç‘s writing is as evocative as it is charming’ —Elif Şafak, author of Three Daughters of Eve and 2017 Man Booker International Prize judge

‘Even before all the instability of 2016, Kaya Genç grasps the country’s vicissitudes. A terrific read’ —Elmira Bayrasli, author of From the Other Side of the World

‘Cleverly constructed, well researched, elegantly written account of modern Turkey’ Emran Mian, author of The Banker’s Daughter

‘The ending made me cry along with him’ —Pat Yale, author of Following Miss Bell

‘There have been numerous books of analysis published about contemporary Turkey, but few come close to Kaya Genç‘s Under the Shadow for sheer humanism and breadth of perspective’ Bilge Ebiri, critic at the Village Voice

‘Excellent book, journalistic, insightful and beautifully written, without passing judgement on the passionate people whose lives are chronicled’ Kareem Shaheen, Istanbul correspondent for the Guardian

‘An elegantly-written and illuminating portrait of Turkey’s angry youth’ Alex Christie-Miller, contributor to the White Review

‘Want to understand modern Turkey? Read this book’ Claire Sadar, editor of the Muftah

‘Kaya Genç is a powerful writerOmar Waraich, deputy south Asia director of Amnesty International

‘Turkish novelist Kaya Genç writes brilliantly in English, much like subcontinentals such as Jhumpa Lahiri’Amberin Zaman, policy fellow at Wilson Center

‘This should be required reading for all Turkey observers’ —Audrey Williams, program coordinator at the Turkish Heritage

‘Illuminating, thorough, and well-written’ Laura Turner, contributor to the Washington Post

‘A cartographer of the battlefield… Mr. Genç is refreshingly balanced… a subtle guide to the wrenching changes Turkey is undergoing, and his testimony is rich in historical and cultural detail… He has announced himself here as a voice to be listened to as Turkey struggles to come to terms with itself’The Economist

‘A fascinating and informative compilation that represents both investigative and literary journalism at their finest… Genç has found a brilliant form to tell the story…’Publishers Weekly

‘Illuminating… Genç cleverly and patiently interviews participants on both sides of the protests… reads like a first draft of history…’ The Los Angeles Review of Books

‘Under the Shadow serves as an excellent field guide for Turkey’s emerging generation’ The National

‘Under the Shadow is both complicated and absolutely necessary’ Paste Magazine

‘A fascinating and magnetic read that particularly deserves praise for giving voice to young Turkish dissidents… the first book of its kind to use oral history as a methodological framework’ The London School of Economics Review of Books

‘A celebration of the youth of the country… a great read, particularly for those of us who are tired of being fed ‘the latest development’ without having digested and categorized what has already happened… There isn’t one dull story… Each life story is told with excellent pacing by GençDaily Sabah

‘Sheds light on the endurance of both Erdoğan and youthful opposition…’ Muftah

One of the best ten books to understand Turkey, according to Penguin Random House’s Signature Reads magazine

Amazon best-seller in Protests & Reforms Books section 


April 26, 2017 – Village Voice, Bilge Ebiri

April 14, 2017 – Mint, Vedica Kant

April 5, 2017 – The London School of Economics Review of Books, Nicos Kristofis

March 13, 2017 – Muftah, Claire Sadar

December 30, 2016 – Paste Magazine, David Zarley

December 21, 2016 – The Times Literary Supplement, William J. Armstrong

December 11, 2016 – The Los Angeles Review of Books, Greg Cullison

November 10, 2016 – The National, David Lapeska

November 10, 2016 – The Economist

October 10, 2016 – Publishers Weekly

Under the Shadow on Amazon

Turkey stands at the crossroads of the Middle East–caught between the West and ISIS, Syria and Russia, and governed by an increasingly forceful leader. Acclaimed writer Kaya Genc has been covering his country for the past decade. In Under the Shadow he meets activists from both sides of Turkey’s political divide: Gezi park protestors who fought tear gas and batons to transform their country’s future, and supporters of Erdogan’s conservative vision who are no less passionate in their activism. He talks to artists and authors to ask whether the New Turkey is a good place to for them to live and work. He interviews censored journalists and conservative writers both angered by what has been going on in their country.

He meets Turkey’s Wall Street types who take to the streets despite the enormity of what they can lose as well as the young Islamic entrepreneurs who drive Turkey’s economy.

While talking to Turkey’s angry young people Genc weaves in historical stories, visions and mythologies, showing how Turkey’s progressives and conservatives take their ideological roots from two political movements born in the Ottoman Empire: the Young Turks and the Young Ottomans, two groups of intellectuals who were united in their determination to make their country more democratic.

He shows a divided society coming to terms with the 21st Century, and in doing so, gets to the heart of the compelling conflicts between history and modernity in the Middle East.