The Man Who Forgot His Name

Eroğlu published his next novel, Adını Unutan Adam (The Man Who Forgot His Name), in 1989, the year he had to resign from his state sponsored post because of political pressures and begin working in the private sector. The story is about three Turkish friends who take part in the Palestinian resistance movement. Trying to escape from Israeli soldiers, these young men make a deal before they split up at a hill on the western side of the Jordan River, near the Dead Sea: if taken alive, the captured man will not tell reveal his identity; no matter what, he will “forget” his name. Only one of the three men, the unnamed narrator of the novel, survives the night. The others sacrifice themselves for the survivor, who pays a heavy price as he is tortured. In the end, though, he manages to return to Turkey. Now living in a house in Kuşadası in the coastal city of Aydın, he tells his story to a young girl.

Eroğlu describes the novel as an elegy for the 1968 generation, “which has not lost their memory.” Fethi Naci criticizes the novel for presenting “no actions that would make the pains suffered worth suffering; there are the words of the author about the 68 generation; these are not words derived from the country’s historical, economic, political conditions, from solid realities, they are just abstract praises. There is no single solid problem that the writer speaks about or implicates.” A more positive view was expressed by Hasan Bülent Kahraman in his March 1989 review in the journal Çerçeve (Frame). He commended Eroğlu for dealing with the individual in all his “glory and misery,” without being drawn into the wordplay of literature.