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Authors: Hakan Günday

More: A Novel

BOOK: More: A Novel
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More: A Novel
Hakan Günday
Arcade Publishing (2016)

The award-winning
, by one of Turkey’s leading underground writers, is the world’s first novel about the refugee crisis.

“The illegals climbed into the truck, and, after a journey of two hundred miles, they boarded ships and were lost in the night.”

Gaza lives on the shores of the Aegean Sea. At the age of nine he becomes a human trafficker, like his father. Together with his father and local boat owners Gaza helps smuggle desperate “illegals,” by giving them shelter, food, and water before they attempt the crossing to Greece. One night everything changes and Gaza is suddenly faced with the challenge of how he himself is going to survive. This is a heartbreaking work that examines the lives of refugees struggling to flee their homeland and the human traffickers who help them reach Europe—for a price.

In this timely and important book, one of the first novels to document the refugee crisis in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, we see firsthand how the realities of war, violence, and migration affect the daily lives of the people who live there. This is a powerful exploration of the unfolding crisis by one of Turkey’s most exciting and critically acclaimed young writers who writes unflinchingly about social issues.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade, Yucca, and Good Books imprints, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fiction—novels, novellas, political and medical thrillers, comedy, satire, historical fiction, romance, erotic and love stories, mystery, classic literature, folklore and mythology, literary classics including Shakespeare, Dumas, Wilde, Cather, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a
New York Times
bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.


Copyright © 2013 by Hakan Günday / Kalem Agency

English-language translation copyright © 2016 by Zeynep Beler

First English-language edition

Originally published in Turkey as
in 2013 by Doğan Kitap

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the publisher, except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles. All inquiries should be addressed to Arcade Publishing, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018.

Arcade Publishing books may be purchased in bulk at special discounts for sales promotion, corporate gifts, fund-raising, or educational purposes. Special editions can also be created to specifications. For details, contact the Special Sales Department, Arcade Publishing, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018 or
[email protected]

Arcade Publishing® is a registered trademark of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.®, a Delaware corporation.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Günday, Hakan, 1976- author. | Beler, Zeynep, translator.

Title: More : a novel / Hakan Gunday ; translated by Zeynep Beler.

Other titles: Daha. English

Description: First English-Language Edition. | New York : Arcade Publishing, 2016.

Identifiers: LCCN 2016025295 (print) | LCCN 2016033224 (ebook) | ISBN 9781628727074 (hardback) | ISBN 9781628727081 (ebook)

Subjects: LCSH: Refugees--Fiction. | Human trafficking--Fiction. | BISAC: FICTION / Literary. | FICTION / Coming of Age. | FICTION / Thrillers. | GSAFD: Bildungsromans.

Classification: LCC PL248.G766 D3413 2016 (print) | LCC PL248.G766 (ebook) | DDC 894/.3534--dc23

LC record available at

Jacket design by Laura Klynstra

Front cover photograph © AP Images

Printed in the United States of America

If my father weren’t a killer, I wouldn’t have been born …

“Two years before you were born … there was this boat named
Swing Köpo
, I’ve never forgotten … Belonged to a son of a bitch by the name of Rahim … Anyhow, we load the goods, there’s forty heads at least. And one of them is sick. You ought to have seen the way he was coughing! He’s done for! It’s anybody’s guess how old he is, could be seventy, could be eighty …”

If my father weren’t a killer, I wouldn’t have been one either …

“I even told him, what use are you anyway? Running, migrating somewhere? What would it matter if you got where you’re going? You want to go through this torture so you can die? Anyway … Then Rahim said to me, come along, we can shoot the breeze on the way back. Back then I had nothing to do, I hadn’t bought the truck yet …”

If my father weren’t a killer, my mother wouldn’t have died giving birth to me …

“Every once in a while I’d lend a hand smuggling migrants. I’d get to know the business and also make a bit of cash … I said all right, fine. So we board, we’re out in the open sea … short while before we make it to Khios, a storm breaks out! The
Swing Köpo
’s already a lost cause as it is! We went under before we even knew it …”

If my father hadn’t been a killer, I would never have turned nine and sat down at that table with him …

“I look around, everyone’s scattered everywhere, screaming and yelling … These guys are from the desert, what do they know of swimming! You see them once, and then they’re gone. Sinking like stones, all of them. Just drowning … at some point I saw Rahim, his forehead’s covered in blood … he’s knocked up his head somewhere on the boat … You should have seen those waves, like walls! Rolling up like they would swallow you! Then I saw that Rahim was gone as well …”

If my father hadn’t been a killer, he wouldn’t have told me this story, same as I wouldn’t have been listening …

“I would have started swimming except I’m thinking, which way? It’s the dead of night. I struggled quite a bit … But no, even keeping my head above the water is an issue. I keep bobbing up and down … I said, Ahad, my man, this is the end! You’re done, you’re a goner … then all of a sudden, between two waves, I saw this white thing … There’s this dark shadow on top of it …”

If my father hadn’t been a killer, I never would have had to learn that he was a killer …

“Turns out it was that sick guy … You know, the geezer I was telling you about … He’s got a buoy that he’s clinging to … I don’t even know how I swam, but I made it over to the guy … I grabbed the buoy and yanked it out of his hand … He just looked at me … reached over like so … so I shoved him … Grabbed him by the throat … Then a wave came and carried him off …”

But my father was a killer and all of it did happen …

That night, my father told his story so slowly his words dissolved into the air between us like those intermittent silences that slipped from his lips. In fact, it was for that reason they were not nailed, but as good as screwed into my memory. Round and around they spun as they lodged into my mind. Or into whatever was left of my mind … Now I wonder if my father hadn’t been a killer, whether I would have had no father at all. For only a killer could have been a father to me. The passage of time made this clear …

He never talked about his murder again. He didn’t need to. How many times do you confess the same sin to the same person? Hearing it once is enough. Enough to cause you to slowly rise from the table and lie down in your bed although your eyes remain open …

Why now, I remember thinking that night. Why tell it now? Was he telling it to me or to himself? Maybe that was the only life lesson he was able to pass on to his nine-year-old son. The only vital information he had. The only true lesson of life: survive! I remember, too, the moral I found in that story: Don’t tell anyone how you survived … No one should talk about where they’re from. I remember weeping. No one should talk about the breaths they’ve stolen from others. I was nine. I couldn’t have known … that you survived so that you could tell people about how you survived … Then at some point, I remember picturing the moment my father grabbed that old man by the throat and pushed him. Thinking, that old man must have had an Adam’s apple just like my father’s … asking myself, had my father felt that lump in his hand? Had that old man’s Adam’s apple left a mark in my father’s palm? When he stroked my cheek, would I catch it too? Next I remember sleeping. And then waking … then, the breakfast he had prepared me, and the slap, and the command.

A slice of bread …

“What did you make out of what I told you yesterday?”

“It was either you who would die, or that man …”

Two slices of cheese …

“Good … so tell me … what would you have done?”

“Maybe that buoy could’ve helped us both …”

A slap …

“Eat, don’t stare at me like that! Wipe those eyes!”

“OK, Dad.”

An egg …

“If I wasn’t around, you wouldn’t be either, do you understand?”

“Yes, Dad.”

Three olives …

“Good … don’t ever forget this! Now tell me, what would you have done?”

“I would’ve done the same as you, Dad.”

A sliver of butter …

“Everything I do in this life, I do for you.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

A command …

“Now you know that this business is about survival of the fittest, you’re coming with me today!”

“OK, Dad.”

It turns out Father had been looking for a novice. One who would belong to him to the flesh, bones, and marrow. It seems he would rather become accomplices with his own son than split his profit with a stranger.

“You’re coming!” he said, so I went. That summer, as soon as I got my report card, I became a people smuggler. At the age of nine … it wasn’t really that much different than being the son of a people smuggler …

Now I wonder if maybe he was drunk when he told that story. Recounted his way to lucidity, then realized it was too late … Maybe my father simply had a crippled sense of remorse and a mean streak, that was all. Maybe he was that way because of his own father. And
was that way because of
father … and
was that way because of
… and
was that way because of
… Weren’t we all children of survivors after all? Children of the survivors of war, earthquake, famine, massacre, epidemic, invasion, conflict, and disaster … Children of swindlers, thieves, murderers, liars, informers, traitors, of those first to leave a sinking ship, who yank buoys out of the hands of others … those who knew well enough to stay alive … those who would do anything, anything at all, to stay alive … If we were alive today, did we not owe it to that someone in our family tree who’d declared, “It’s either me or him!” Maybe this wasn’t even the reign of wickedness. It was only natural … It only seemed unwholesome to us. But there was no concept of ugliness in nature, or of beauty. Rainbows were rainbows and no science textbook had ever disclosed any information about how to get to the end of one.

BOOK: More: A Novel
13.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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