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  • Writer's pictureMetin Tiryaki

Kabuk Adam – Aslı Erdoğan

Kabuk Adam (The Shell Man) is the story of a woman who carries her past with a deep scar, a hump on her back, and a man who makes ever-changing choices between killing and falling in love.

Born in 1967, Aslı Erdoğan wrote The Shell Man in 1994. After graduating from Boğaziçi University, Department of Physics and getting a master's degree in the same field, Erdoğan is one of the first Turkish physicists to work on the Higgs boson at the Geneva European Nuclear Center (CERN) between 1991 and 1993. In order to get rid of his job and depressive mood for a while, which he did not love at that time, he went to St. In his book, Erdoğan, who attended a conference held on the island of Croix, told about his experiences in the two weeks he spent on this island and a local he met on the island, named Tony, who called himself the Shell Man.

The book, which is the autobiography of the period, reflects Erdogan's mood, St. He begins by describing the process of getting to the Croix. It tells the story of a woman who was abused as a child and raped in her youth, and who, in her own words, forgot to love, spent two weeks on a paradise island in the middle of the Caribbean, finding love, affection and sexuality. While describing his own unhappiness, weaknesses, contradictions and inability to hold on, he also made reference to Oğuz Atay's The Tutunamayanlar.

The murderous (!) naivety of Tony, a skinny, ugly, bruised black man, whom he came across by chance and trying to make a living by selling seashells, which frightens him at first and then makes him fall in love, deeply impresses Erdogan. The Shell Man is a man with a grim reaper mask, a dark past filled with pain, beautiful with his ugliness, wise with his ignorance, loved without touching, loving with words, opening secrets that he could not tell anyone, even he himself had difficulty remembering and confronting.

The Shell Man, a 150-page novella, is a gripping work that can be read in one breath. Although its language is simple, it should not go without saying that it has a literary value with descriptions and metaphors.

“The only reward, the only gift that life can give us is a loving person, and we kill such a person at the first opportunity; And then, for life, we carry the curse of this unforgivable sin on our shoulders.”

“To lose my past, my roots, my gilded future plans; forgetting during long, hot days; forgetting and then finding myself again; maybe much more beautiful than the life I have lived until now, or rather the life I watch from the window, and the ashen-colored future I hold in my palms; But to embark on such an adventure, to give up my own as if borrowing someone else's life, I needed a lot of courage, more than I could ever have."

“I had hoped to relive the previous night, but it was something that could only happen once in a person's life. How hopeless, how pointless it was to try to relive a memory; it was more of a fabrication than an artificial jewel.”

“Like air that shapes a balloon, I need something to shape my life. I don't even know what that could be right now, maybe something that can only be described as love.”

“Sometimes nothing hurts as much as remembering, especially remembering happiness.”

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