THEMES OF MEMORY AND LOSS. Fans of films and books featuring unreliable narrators dealing with memory loss such as Christopher Nolan’s MEMENTO and S.J. Watson’s BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP will be interested in LABYRINTH.
AN ODE TO BORGES. The titular reference to Jorge-Luis Borges’ seminal text LABYRINTHS is a tribute to the Argentine master, but the novel stands on its own. Bringing Somnez’s distinct style of storytelling and experimentation with form gives the reader a fresh take on a now-classic modern tradition.
EVOCATIVE SETTING. Sonmez’s vivid, lucid descriptions of Istanbul will appeal to readers of the work of Orhan Pamuk, where the city itself plays a character in the novel.
“Provocative…profound…[Labyrinth], beautifully translated by Ümit Hussein, reads like a fever dream.” —New York Times
“Subtle…stirring…A thoughtful novel that asks many unanswerable questions worth pondering, Labyrinth is a mind-twister.” —NPR
“A cerebral philosophical meditation on memory and what it means to live without it…accessible and profound, bringing to mind Albert Camus and Patrick Modiano…this is a book that will undoubtedly linger in a reader’s mind.” —Publishers Weekly
“As this book opens, a blues singer attempts to take his life by jumping five hundred feet off a bridge into the Bosphorus. He survives but his memory is shattered—he knows the last Sultan has died, but the rest is a maze. This short, elliptical novel by the author of Istanbul, Istanbul follows him into its pathways, conjuring the ineluctable entanglement of place and person.” —John Freeman, Literary Hub
“A provocative examination of memory and loss, of intent and outcome…masterful.” —Shelf Awareness
“Compact, thought-provoking, and gently exquisite, Labyrinth…establishes [Sönmez] as one of Europe’s great contemporary authors…The effect of the book’s simple clauses, infused with a continual stream of sensual description, is hypnotic.” —World Literature Today
“A bold and entrancing work.” —The National
“This clever, elliptical tale…will linger in your memory long after you have read it.” —Book Riot
“[A] many-layered mystery with few answers but all the most interesting, searching questions about identity, memory, and intersecting lives…Labyrinth has been earning comparisons to Borges, and they’re well deserved, as a sense of intrigue and philosophy pervades this excellent, meditative novel.” —CrimeReads
“Sönmez brilliantly guides the reader…He uses storytelling—anecdotes, fables, and histories—to describe lessons that are valuable for comprehending life…The setting is vibrant, and though I’ve never been to Istanbul I feel a sense of familiarity with the city having read Sönmez’s novel.” —Literary Review
“A provocative and beautifully written story of the weave and tears of memory and identity worthy of Borges’s own Labyrinths. Long after finishing this marvelous book, I still think every day of the questions it raises.” —Eric Lax, author of Start to Finish
“A novelist with such a sense of both humanity and power is rare. With Labyrinth, Burhan Sönmez adds another important building block to his portrait of life today, with Turkey as the stage for all of our dramas. Underneath it all, he seems to be asking whether societies like ours can survive if we are allowed to remember.” —John Ralston Saul, author of The Collapse of Globalism; President Emeritus of PEN International
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