Many and Many a Year Ago, By Selçuk Altun

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The Independent Culture

Music-loving aesthete and Turkish air-force pilot, Kemal enters a weird twilight existence in Istanbul after his plane crashes and a secret benefactor sets him up in a grand house in the haunted streets of old Balat.

There follows an entertaining, somewhat absurd Hitchcockian comedy-mystery, rich in dropped names and arty jokes. It sends Kemal to the US on the trail of (of all McGuffins) Edgar Allan Poe. For readers here this cheeky romp, briskly translated by Clifford and Selhan Endres, may appeal most for its atmospheric glimpses of an inexhaustible city.