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CanLit150

Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

Mehri Yalfani Recommends

The Ghosts of Smyrna by Loren Edizel

The Ghosts of Smyrna (2013)

(From Mawenzi House)

As World War I draws to a close, Aya Katerina, a neighbourhood in Ottoman Smyrna, quietly awaits its fate and goes about its centuries-old ways. We meet Niko "the Orphan"—his Armenian father was taken away by the soldiers—and a host of other characters. Elena, Niko’s aunt and talented artist; his idiosyncratic uncle Polycarp, wiser than he pretends; Manolis the Greek doctor who loves Elena; Nazim the Turkish journalist who also loves her; Niko’s grandmother who holds the family together; and an assortment of neighbours. As the War ends, ancient animosities erupt, and the city is caught up in a violent Greek-Turkish conflict. Aya Katerina goes up in smoke. This is a story about impossible love and a novel about growing up. Quiet and understated, colourful and intensely moving, this is a memorial to a charmed city now lost. 

Loren Edizel

Loren Edizel was born in Izmir, Turkey. Her other works include the novel Adrift (TSAR, 2011) and several stories, including “The Conch,” which appeared in Turkish translation in the anthology Izmir in Women’s Stories (Kad?n Öykülerinde Izmir).The Ghosts of Smyrna was published as Izmir Hayaletleri in Turkey in 2008 by Senocak Yayinlari (trans. Roza Hakmen). She lives in Toronto.