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  • Writer's pictureMetin Tiryaki

Dokunmadan – Nermin Yıldırım

When a person does not know how to love himself, he cannot imagine that he can be loved by others...

I met Nermin Yıldırım at the "Creating Character" workshop held as part of "Mim Literature Days '17" at Mim Art Center. I've never read the author, whose five novels have been published, and I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't even heard of him. First of all, I have to talk about the workshop; Although Ms. Nermin said from the very beginning that it would not be an education but a conversation where she would share her experiences, she shared very stimulating and inspiring posts. While sharing his experiences on many subjects such as how the character is created, how the story is constructed, our purpose of writing, who we are writing for, etc., he helped me live for three hours with his fluent and candid style. I should add that I am impatiently waiting for the second workshop to be held in December after the panel, which I listened to with admiration and tried to memorize every word. The next day, I bought all the books I could find first thing, and I read the last book of the author, "Without Touching", as if he were swallowing it in one day.

“Without Touching” is the author's last book, which was published by Hep Kitap Publishing in March 2017. Justice, 29 years old, is a woman who works in a job where she is unhappy and lives a life without being able to touch or love anyone. When She learns she has a terminal illness, she confronts herself, her fears, and her past. He blames himself for what he didn't do more than what he did in the past. While he was thinking about the mistakes that he had to fix before he died, he goes back to the moment when he was five years old when Mahsun, the poor and mentally handicapped son of the doorman of the neighboring apartment, took Muhlise, his one-eyed bear, his only toy. Years later, he sets out to find Mahsun and return his bear, with Hülya, his only friend in life; Meanwhile, Sadi Seber, whom he met as a result of strange coincidences, accompanies him.

The book, the subject of which is briefly like this, offers the reader a view of the world, events and society through the eyes of Adalet. Justice, who collects murder news on the third page from every city and every town in a diary-shaped notebook, questions himself as well as the society, confronts and even does not hesitate to judge. Her relationships with her mother, father, grandmother, fragmentary memories from her childhood, and her life are frequently encountered in the book. With her psychology after the news of her death, her journey and Hülya's constant prodding, she also confronts the fact that her memories are not as she remembers, but in the way she wants to remember. Although it may seem like a simple goal to return a toy, Adalet, wandering from street to street, city to city to repair the heart she broke years ago, sets out to repair her own memories, her own heart, actually herself. In addition to the story of Adalet, the book also includes news and tragic events that have no place in our collective memory, that we regret for a few minutes after reading them in the newspaper; like the drama of the family who hid their child's body in the freezer because of the curfew. The author also draws a portrait of the society on the subject of harassment of women in public transport. Those who abuse, those who are harassed and shut up, those who ignore the harassment. A wind is constantly whispering to Justice; By saying “see this, hear this”… Like the general society, he avoids seeing and hearing. In the conscience of Adalet, the author is actually criticizing the insensitive society, that is, us.

The book, which you will encounter many surprises throughout its fiction, is very gripping and fluent. Nermin Yıldırım has used metaphors, descriptions and old Turkish very well and skillfully in the book. As a result, a “compassion” novel has emerged, which brings to light the wounds of the society that has been swept under the mat, is conscientious, full of surprises, sometimes brings tears to your eyes, makes you think and question from time to time.

“When you tell someone to shut up, you can long for their voice, when you tell them to go away.”

“When a person does not know how to love himself, he cannot imagine that he can be loved by others.”

“I am not advocating that silence is a form of expression. I just gave up trying to tell.”

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