Fractured Lives In A Violent Time: Previewing ‘Turkish Kaleidoscope’ OGN

by Brendan M. Allen

Turkey went through an intensely violent and fractious period in the 1970s. Turkish Kaleidoscope, a new graphic novel from scholar and novelist Jenny White and acclaimed artist Ergün Gündüz, vividly depicts how political factionalism ripped the social fabric and drew in participants, willing or unwilling, into the fray in 1970s Ankara. The book follows the lives of four college students living through that era, and how their varying political ideologies impacted their lives and the lives of those they loved.

Inspired by White’s own experiences as a student in Turkey during this tumultuous period as well as original oral histories of Turks who lived through it, Turkish Kaleidoscope reveals how violent factionalism has its own emotional and cultural logic that defies ideological explanations.

“This book doesn’t give an ideological or event-driven analysis but rather asks more universal questions about what causes people to sacrifice their lives, health, and sometimes families for a cause or for an autocratic leader, to engage in violent acts, and then to endanger themselves further by splitting off from that cause or leader,” White says in the introduction. “What effect, if any, do their actions have on their society, on their own lives and those of their children?”

Turkish Kaleidoscope is 120 pages, available now for $22.95 from Princeton University Press.

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