Exile of the Heart

Eroğlu’s new job in the private sector required an intense, nine-to-ten hours’ dedication, but he continued to write and next published Yürek Sürgünü (1994, Exile of the Heart), a novel that treats the 1968 generation in its middle age. He shows how people often continue to insist on their truths despite having survived two military coups and the severe pain of lost relatives and friends. The story of the protagonist, Kadir Solak, who fought against Israel in Palestine in 1968 and returned to Turkey, is complemented by the stories of several other characters that are products of the neoliberal 1990s such as Halit, who was exiled to Hınıs, a little village of Erzurum, after serving time and who loses his wife and younger daughter because of an accident he caused; Murat, who had to live in Berlin to escape from the pressures he faced in his country; and Nihat, who tries to find a place in the world of business by ignoring his past and pursuing wealth. These characters are from the same neighborhood, but their lives have taken them in different directions. For instance, after all he has been through, Halit starts to search for the meaning of life in Islam. In this character Eroğlu seemingly foresaw the germs of the radical Muslim movement and the first steps of Islamic capitalism, which became more visible in twentyfirst century Turkey.

In his essay in Radikal Kitap (Radical Books) A. Ömer Türkeş compares Eroğlu’s characters to Franz Kafka’s characters. While acknowledging the characters of the Turkish writer are not as weak or powerless as those of Kafka, he suggests that “they carry the damage of a blow” that has landed sometime in their lives: “Although they have self-control, they can find themselves in situations, which they feel as helpless as those characters of Kafka. With this contrasting side of theirs, they pave the way for extending the story to a philosophical and psychological area.”