kedi_mektuplari [640x480]Letters from a Turkish Cat
Oya Baydar
first published in 1993
sold over 50,000 copies and 13 reprints
“Yunus Nadi Novel Award”
English translation is available.

Albanian: Fan Noli
Arabic: ASP
Bulgarian: Lettera, 2014
Hungarian: Libri, 2012
Italian: Clandestine
Macedonian: ILI-ILI
Urdu: Jumhoori, 2015

Letters from a Turkish Cat is the story of the search of ten cats, ten of whom are the heroes of the novel, for a secret which, they think, makes their owners sad and gives them pain, with the smell letters they send each other.

The owners of the cats are people who had to escape from their country and take refuge in some European countries during the military coup of 1980 in Turkey. In the period of 1989-1990, the collapse of Berlin Wall and socialist system means the collapse of their hopes, identities and beliefs. That they have to experience such a process away from their countries, their roots in and in foreign places makes life totally difficult for them. In one hand, their tragedies, grief and questioning the life and themselves are told from their cats’ mouths and with their cats’ intuition in the novel. On the other hand, the individual live sof the cats, the relationships between them, their love affairs, their curiosity that is reflected on the proverb “Curiosity killed the cat” and the works of the “Finding out owners’ secrets organization” they establish among themselves are conveyed.

At the end of the novel, Dirty, the most intelligent of the cats, will find out that secret: Asking about and questioning the meaning of life… that fantastic question which makes people different from other the other living. And in the last pages Dirty will see with dismay that at the moment he asks himself this question in a catly way he is not a cat any more.    

In Letters from a Turkish Cat, contains the nested narration of the state of “being a cat” and “being a human”, a philosophical dimension as a sub-reading and the political psychological analysis of a very tumultuous period of the world. However the lives and searches of the cats and people in the novel can be read as a exciting adventure.

One of the novel’s cat heroes, Nina, the writer’s cat, animadverting mercilessly, evaluates the book as follows: “There isn’t a new significant thing about cats in this book, but it is a very useful source for the cats that want to closely know and understand people. No people reading Letters from a Turkish Cat  will be able to look at cats in the way they did in the past; no cats reading Letters from a Turkish Cat will be able to see people in the way they did in the past.”