... a slim, captivating new novel ... There is a taste of Borges in this premise: its hypnotic circularity, its diamond-sized glimpse of the infinite. And in other ways too, such as how the text slips back and forth from a close first-person 'I' to a distant third-person as Boratin drifts into and away from himself. Yet Boratin’s investigation of his past also closely recalls Christopher Nolan’s ingenious film Memento ... There is a political edge here, too ... Labyrinth is the mystery novel at its most existential, in which the person who has disappeared is the protagonist himself, in which the mystery is the greatest of them all: consciousness, identity, the unknowability of self. The choices that have led us to this point, and how they define us.
Sönmez brilliantly guides the reader through Boratin’s mind, his confusion and his quest to recover his memory. He uses storytelling — anecdotes, fables, and histories — to describe lessons that are valuable for comprehending life. These tales offer morals by which people should live ... The setting is vibrant, and though I’ve never been to Istanbul I feel a sense of familiarity with the city having read Sönmez’s novel. Boratin is an extremely likable character. His dilemma — even for one who has never suffered memory loss — is relatable. After all, aren’t many of us searching — sometimes endlessly — for something that remains elusive?
... provocative ... occasionally profound and sometimes maddening ... Some of the questions [the protagonist] asks lead to profound musings into what makes us human; others reminded me of the never-ending conversational black holes my brother and I used to fall into late at night when we were children ... The book, beautifully translated by Umit Hussein, reads like a fever dream, to one side of reality. Facts come and go, creating an impression but not adding up to anything you can wrap your arms around ... It’s silly to criticize the behavior of a fictional character, in the same way it’s silly to criticize an author for writing a book different from the one you yourself might have written. But as I read Labyrinth, I wanted to shake Boratin out of his stupor, to demand that he try to engage more with the effort to recover his life.