Book 2: Emine

Focuses on the clash of SecularMuslim values within the axis of the Emine Mehmet love story. The conservatively raised protagonist Emine is a member of a wealthy Anatolian family that is representative of the Muslim capital. She is stuck in a moderntraditional divide since her family moved to Istanbul. She marries Mehmet, who is the narrator of the novel. Mehmet feels as though he has a second chance with his new job and marriage and can achieve love, wealth, and a meaningful life. The biggest problem in Mehmet and Emine’s relationship is that they are people of two different poles. Mehmet was born in İzmir as a child of a leftist family; and as his middleclass father, who was a teacher, was transferred from school to school because of his leftist opinions, Mehmet had developed negative feelings toward leftism. He lost his belief in God along the way as well.

Emine, on the other hand, grew up in a small Anatolian city as a religious, shy, silent daughter of a conservative family, and as all the women in the family do at a certain age, she donned the headscarf. Mehmet loves Emine in part because she is unlike his previous lovers. He is attracted to Emine’s naïveté, and while he could not be happy with his previous relationships, he loves Emine because she tries to make him happy. Mehmet and Emine are both lonely in their own separate worlds, and throughout the novel, Eroğlu questions if such a love as theirs is possible.

Eroğlu also brings in a discussion as to whether or not Islamic socialism would be possible, via the character of Hasan Hoca. He argues that true Islam takes the side of poverty and the oppressed, rather than of wealth. The arguments in the trilogy about the possibility of an Islamic Left became more current in Turkey after the Gezi Park protests, and some of Eroglu’s insights into Turkish society have come to be seen as prescient.