29th March 2020
Hassanakis is a young Muslim boy of Turkish descent growing up on Crete during WWI.
Fifteen generations of his family have lived on the island and until now he has never had any reason not to think he is a Cretan.
But with the Great Powers tussling over the collapsing Ottoman Empire and the island’s Christians in rebellion, an outbreak of ethnic violence forces his family to flee to the Cretan City of Chania.
He begins to lay down roots and his snappy dress earns him the nickname of Hassan ‘the mirror’. As WWI draws to a close and the Turkish War of Independence rages, he begins a heady romance with the elegant Hüsniye.
There are rumours that the Cretan Muslims will be sent to Turkey but Hassanakis can’t believe he will be sent to a country whose language he barely knows and where he knows no-one.
This powerful novel drawn from the diary of a refugee family evokes the beauty, complexity and trauma of Crete’s past and weaves it into a moving tale of an ordinary man living through extraordinary times.
Published by Neem Tree Press on 26th March 2020, 140 pages
Ahmet Yorulmaz was a Turkish a journalist, author and translator. He was born in Ayvalik to a family of Cretan Turks deported to mainland Turkey as part of the Greek-Turkish population exchange decreed in the Treaty of Lausanne. He was fluent in modern Greek and translated novels and poems from contemporary Greek literature to Turkish. Most of his original works were written with the aim of making people learn about Ayvalık, the city where he grew up. He dedicated himself to Greek-Turkish friendship and rapprochement.