Written in snippets snuck out of prison by his lawyers, these essays recount the ongoing incarceration of one of Turkey's most important writers, providing insight into political censorship amidst the global rise of authoritarianism.
This remarkable, touching memoir...is a collection of experiences, thoughts, conversations, internal debates ... While the experiences of those unjustifiably locked up is surely similar in many ways, Altan's talent as a writer allowed him to communicate his experience in rich, haunting detail. Some pages are full of pain, but others are full of hope ... Despite the oppressive, cruel darkness at the core of Altan's memoir, his words shine like bioluminescent creatures patrolling the abyss. His reflections, observations, and indomitable spirit are a testament to human resilience and the power of thought ... While the writing is brilliant and Altan's strength permeates this memoir, his situation and that of those around him make this a difficult read ... I Will Never See the World Again walks a fine line between loveliness and horror, hope and pain, devastation and strength. Altan's prose is sharp and lyrical ... Altan is locked up, but his words are free, and they demand to be read.
It speaks for itself with such clarity, certainty and wisdom that only one thing needs to be said: read it. And then read it again ... It is wonderfully distilled, but not sententious; even in extremis, Altan never loses the limpidity and translucence, vivid with the vividness of dreams, which is characteristic of his other writing ... It is a radiant celebration of the inner resources of human beings, above all those triggered by the imagination. Its account of the creative process is sublime, among the most perfectly expressed analyses of that perpetually elusive phenomenon. And it is a triumph of the spirit.
For the most part it is the novelist, not the journalist, who comes to the fore with a love of character and observation. It is, Altan acknowledges, part of a coping strategy to keep his mind occupied and ward off despondency. Indeed, much of this book is about emotional and psychological self-preservation. But it is not without telling detail. Altan relates a story about sharing a TV with a fellow inmate, a devout Muslim ... He wants to watch religious programs, but Altan, a non-believer, would rather watch shows with scantily clad singers performing pop songs. This almost sitcom-worthy scenario encapsulates the cultural chasm between Turkey’s secular and religious traditions.