Savas, Aysegul. Walking on the Ceiling. Riverhead, New York, 2019. F;9/19
This first novel was not as sharply gripping as the short story Canvas in a recent New Yorker, but it had intriguing and thought-provoking complexity. Nunu is a young Turkish woman trying to get started writing who meets in Paris a much older man already established as a successful writer, and they go for walks and have meals together. The relationship is described obliquely through conversation and the one-sided young woman’s point of view, and while the two of them are obviously potentially romantically attracted, it’s not at all clear that things go beyond conversation.
Nunu has a complex and somewhat darkly ambivalent relationship with her mother and other family members back in Istanbul, her writer friend (“M”) has visited the city and written about it, and there is something affecting and real about Nunu’s … caution I guess … in relationships. She is searching for something as people her age do, but she is (quite properly, we feel) a little afraid of commitment.
The plot is pretty well entirely psychological, and the emotional and dramatic impact grows throughout the story. Recommended. 8.7/8.1