After her mother's death, Nunu moves from Istanbul to a small apartment in Paris. One day outside of a bookstore, she meets M., an older British writer whose novels about Istanbul Nunu has always admired. They find themselves walking the streets of Paris and talking late into the night. What follows is an unusual friendship of eccentric correspondence and long walks around the city.
[A] delicate, melancholy debut novel ... Her loneliness radiates like heat from the pages of this book ... Savas’s novel unfolds in a series of 72 short, non-chronological chapters, pieces of a mosaic that demand careful attention as you attempt to fit them together ... spare, disarmingly simple prose ... She writes with both sensuality and coolness, as if determined to find a rational explanation for the irrationality of existence, and for the narrator’s opaque understanding of herself ... Savas doesn’t write much about modern-day Istanbul, but menace lurks around the corner of her prose ... By the end, it feels as if she is coming close to matching the words to the reality, if that’s even possible.
...[a] lyrical debut novel ... The geographic specificity lends a sense of realism to a novel that’s largely about artifice, but readers shouldn’t necessarily expect realism from Savaş. Instead, Walking on the Ceiling seems to owe much to Mrs. Dalloway another novel whose fluid chronology favors form over plot ... The novels share a similar pacing and an eye for seemingly inconsequential details while important events succumb to a general fogginess. Even Nunu’s relationship with M. is left largely undefined. Like Woolf, Savaş focuses more on interiority, and the novel’s modernist sensibility fits Nunu’s flânerie perfectly ... If Nunu is an unreliable narrator, then of course so is Savaş, who draws us into a story that we can never quite believe but always implicitly trust. With godly precision, she has constructed a paper city out of the pages of her novel, and we happily follow her toward every courtyard and dead end.
With its innately self-conscious approach, Savaş’ first novel reads much like a diary ... The writer M is purposefully enigmatic, which intrigues but leaves a feeling of incompletion at the same time ... Throughout, Savaş writes sensitively, and personal revelations fill the pages of Walking on the Ceiling. Sentences sometimes read like an elegy not just for the city but for Nurunisa’s past as well ... The poetic quality of the author’s prose draws you in, even if the self-reflection can feel burdensome at times ... Nurunisa’s thoughts and memories threaten to spill over into full understanding but never quite do; she keeps them contained, much like how she herself is still hemmed in by the past.