This article is also available in: Italiano
“Dolaptan Temasa” by Ahmet Mithat Efendi tells the short story of Behram Ağa between alcohol and women of ill repute
“Dolaptan Temasa” by Ahmet Mithat Efendi
Istanbul, early 1800s. Behram Ağa and some friends cross the Golden Horn to spend the night at the house of a trader friend, who has organized an evening of entertainment. But when they stop in Balat, his friends disappear. Thinking that he is the victim of a bad joke, Behram Ağa goes on his way. However, as it is getting dark and he doesn’t know exactly the way, after a while he decides to stop and rest, he leans against a door by mistake and suddenly finds himself inside a house where a beautiful mysterious lady welcomes him . Thus begins a comedy in which daring situations follow one another at a rapid pace, to arrive at a breathless ending.
“It’s just an adventure, but what a strange adventure!”
“Dolaptan Temasa” it is an objectively particular book, different from all the others and capable both of making us relive the last years of glory of the janissaries and of making us experience a work similar in spirit to those of Jorge Amado. For three-quarters of the text we will in fact be catapulted into an atmosphere made of alcohol, women and misunderstandings, capable of making us smile over and over again while reading. This short adventure, however, is also able to give a real and complete overview of the habits of that time by telling us in detail things such as: pastimes, popular habits and customs to which we are no longer used to.
The greatness of this Ottoman writer was in fact that of wanting to write to “educate the public” and therefore each of his works is designed as much to entertain them as to train them (from this point of view it is very reminiscent of the novels of Ahmet Ümit). If you want to have some more details, keep reading the article, otherwise stop, buy it, read it and then come back here; “Adventurous Night in Old Istanbul” is a book of just 80 pages and it would be a shame to spoil the surprise for you. In general, however, I can tell you that it is a text that, in its simplicity, is absolutely worth reading, especially if like me you particularly love Istanbul, the most beautiful city in the world.
From 0 to 100 in just 3 pages (spoiler section)
If you are here it means that either you have finished the book or you want to reveal the secret; well, I don’t really have much to say, the book is really small, but actually there is something. Let’s start with the fact that there are over and over points in the novel where I really laughed my heart out like I haven’t in a while. All the stories, anecdotes, descriptions and misadventures of the first half of the work are really hilarious and able to make you smile constantly while observing the increasingly bizarre fate that happened to Behram Ağa; the surprising thing, however, is the speed with which all this takes on “splatter” tones.
Indeed, once he enters the house, Behram Ağa will be made drunk, then locked up in the closet due to the arrival of Mustafa, a very bad Janissary lover of the young woman. At a certain point, however, her husband will also return home and, in order to preserve his honour, he will find himself forced to kill Mustafa first and then his wife, transforming the scene from a burlesque into a bloody one. While it all made perfect sense in terms of plot and length compared to the book, I found this change to be really sudden and instantaneous, almost shocking the reader into something unique.
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