This article is also available in: Italiano
“The Wind from the Plain” is the first part of a wonderful trilogy by Yaşar Kemal, which will allow us to fully discover rural Turkey and its extraordinary hidden charm.
The Wind from the Plain
The first book of the trilogy The WInd from the Plain, which appeared in 1960 and translated in over fifteen countries, introduces the reader to the real and mythical world of the semi-nomadic people of the Taurus at one time. The daily struggle for survival and the powerful popular imagination come together in the minimal yet heroic events of the “black mouths” and “red heads”.
War and poverty, work in the fields and love, faith and fear of death, the poetry of wandering singers and the desire to escape from the reality of a people for centuries accustomed to fighting against a wild and inhospitable nature assume the relief of a legendary epic. With a lean, effective and extraordinarily beautiful writing style, Yaşar Kemal narrates the adventurous journey to the plantations of Ali and his family between courage and despair.
The wonders of rural Turkey
Yaşar Kemal’s novel will give us the opportunity to fully enter the Taurus Mountains and Çukurova, places often overlooked in favor of Istanbul and the coast, but which reserve an overwhelming charm. Because of Ali’s journey, in fact, we will be immersed for most of the novel in this almost legendary nature and with which man has a direct and constant confrontation. Despite being set in the 1960s, in fact, the villagers are still linked, also through poverty, to the customs of the past, having to deal with needs that today we hardly imagine.
The long journey of Ali and his family, also disadvantaged by the death of the old
I wanted to insist on the first point because, at the plot level, it is the focal point of this first book, even from the latter, however, it is clear that Yaşar Kemal’s intent is to voice the injustices suffered by local farmers , often victims of figures who seem to have emerged from the last century. It was precisely with this text, in fact, that I discovered the existence of the Muhtar, a figure we will discuss better this week but who essentially acts as an intermediary between peasants and the state.
The novel takes advantage of Ali’s grueling journey to create the perfect climax, with a final twist that will show us the nature of this Muhtar and prompt us to immediately buy the next book in the series.
Personally, I loved the book and found in its characters extraordinarily authentic and capable of a truly rare depth in literature. The trip, in fact, will be the perfect opportunity to get to know each of them better, showing a nature as stubborn as it is true and an extremely interesting connection between the various members of the family. In fact, starting with the death of her horse, Meryemce will hate her son Ali more than ever, but she is forced to rely on his shoulders to be able to reach Çukurova, the real “Promised Land” of the novel. Her stubbornness, combined with a not indifferent dose of cazzimm ‘, will make her a character able to even bring a comic verve to the novel, avoiding monotony for the reader and making everything more alive and real than ever.
Ali in turn represents almost a sort of saint, more than ever in love with his mother and willing to make excruciating sacrifices, but without having his feet put on his head. There will be times when his son, like Meryemce, will even go so far as to invoke divine punishment for his mother, without however stopping to always rush to her aid. However, Elif, Ali’s wife, Koca Ali and Muhtar himself must also be mentioned, all characters perfectly fitting for the role they play but always real and full of that unpredictability that only a great author can instill.
Fall in love with an author
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to include it in the list of the best books of 2020, but it will certainly be in that of the best of 2021. Kemal’s text is objectively extraordinary for what it is able to convey, managing to make it compelling and more than ever enjoyable every passage of the novel. In this first book, as I said, the attention will be concentrated for at least 3/4 on the journey through the Taurus mountains, yet there is no moment in the novel when it is difficult to move forward, managing to make the forest and its nature something extraordinarily compelling.
The fact that it is set only in the 1960s, then, makes it a very precious text for understanding rural Turkey, a place that sometimes you pretend not to see, but that represents the real beating heart of the country. was able to conquer me in the depths of my heart, so much so that I already bought the following books of the trilogy, the fear of being without one of the three texts was too great.
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