I Am My Country
And Other Stories
“A powerful and provocative debut collection” (The New York Times Book Review) by “a startling talent who can seemingly do anything” (Anthony Marra) that explores the lives of ordinary people in Turkey to reveal how even individual acts of resistance have extraordinary repercussions. “I Am My Country employs many different literary styles and voices to dazzling effect.”—The Atlantic Spanning decades and landscapes, from the forests along the Black Sea to the streets of Istanbul, Kenan Orhan’s playful stories conjure dreamlike worlds—of talking animals, flying houses, and omniscient prayer-callers—to examine humanity’s unfaltering pursuit of hope in even the darkest circumstances. A determined florist trains a neighborhood stray dog to blow up a corrupt president. A garbage collector finds banned instruments—and later, musicians—in the trash and takes them home to form a clandestine orchestra in her attic. A smuggler risks his life to bring a young woman claiming to be pregnant via immaculate conception across the border with Syria. A poor cage-maker tries to use his ability to talk to birds to woo his childhood love just before the 1955 Istanbul pogrom. These characters are united by a desperate yearning to break free from the volatile realities they face: rising authoritarianism, cultural and political turmoil, and staggering violence. Ranging from the absurd to the tenderhearted, the stories in I Am My Country illuminate the constant force amid one country’s history of rampant oppression and revolutionary progress: the impulse to survive.