“Dokunmadan” by Nermin Yıldırım

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“Dokunmadan” by Nermin Yıldırım is a novel different from all the others, able to transport the reader into an original story full of twists that will take us into the mind of Adalet and her rebirth


Adalet is only 29 years old, she is a wounded and difficult woman who tries to live without touching anyone, suspicious of the outside world. When she realizes that she will not be able to get rid of the relentless disease that has struck her, she begins to report on her life. Adalet, who blames himself for what happened to her, tries to find her first sin by rummaging through her life and her memories. In an attempt to remedy her guilt, she will get to know herself and the country in which she lives again.

A different novel

“Dokunmadan” by Nermin Yıldırım is a novel about personal research and rebirth, a text that, with various twists, will lead Adalet to tour a large part of Turkey and meet a character who will change her existence. The tones of the text are often dark and will lead us to fully immerse ourselves in the tired and confused mind of the protagonist; this characteristic is also extremely evident from Nermin Yıldırım’s way of writing, which will pass from an extremely pessimistic and dark beginning to a second part animated by his life and rediscovery.


A story that, using an original and very imaginative pretext, will be able to drag the reader page after page to the big and, at times unexpected, final (which I will discuss in the spoiler section). A very interesting book if you want to immerse yourself in contemporary Turkish literature with something original and different; if you love twists, the novel even gains some extra points.

Spoiler: “Fly, You Fools!”

Personally there are two traits that I have not particularly appreciated because, in my humble opinion, it would have taken very little to make this book from a “good novel” to a “hidden gem”: the ending and the choice not to use real places; let’s start from this because it is easier to explain. It is perfectly clear that when Nermin Yıldırım has a real and lived Turkey in mind, but in my opinion using real place names could have made the reader’s experience even more interesting and give real weight to the continuous social denunciation present in the text. Adalet is in fact obsessed with Turkish news (black and non-black), so much so that she collects many newspaper articles and makes the reader experience many of the brutality and oddities that occur in this wonderful and complicated country; with the choice not to put real names, however, this thing inevitably gets lost a bit, providing it with a global dimension (there are no facts that could not also occur elsewhere), but taking away something from the particular, inevitably decreasing social criticism.

Nermin Yıldırım

But the thing that in general made me turn up my nose is the ending because, honestly, I expected it to be different. At the end of the journey, in fact, Adalet will meet the boy who has been looking for her for a long time, but, unintentionally, he will kill her. For heaven’s sake, it is extremely understandable and interesting the idea of making things go back to their starting point and the fact that he dies in exactly the same way he used to commit sin, however, if this was the original intent of Yıldırım , I would have changed the focus of the text a little. Usually, in fact, “cyclical” stories have destiny as their fulcrum rather than the protagonist, so as to make the reader perceive that the latter is a servant of fate, someone who has to complete a “global” task, and not that he is under it. At the end of “Dokunmadan”, Adalet’s story is as if it were going back to the starting point, without however having particularly modified the present and the future, leaving (at least to me) a bit of a bitterness in the mouth; the protagonist seems in fact that she is making a rebirth, but the latter in fact never materializes, as she, just when she has freed herself from the burden and is finally happy to live, she dies. I do not know, surely I must not have understood something, but she personally left me with many questions and with a slight bitterness in my mouth.

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