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Seyhmus Dagtekin's To the Spring, by Night, is the magical evocation of a childhood spent in a small Kurdish mountain village in Turkey, with no electricity and little literacy, but with a rich tradition of tale-telling and legend that infuses every living thing, every rock, stream, and spring with its own spirit and inner life. We follow the young protagonist as his horizons expand and share his real and imaginary fears as we come to know his isolated community, whose only contact with the outside world is through the male inhabitants' compulsory military service and the smuggling that takes them down from the heights and onto the plain below. Changing seasons, family intrigues, feast and famine, all run their course in the shadow of an imposing citadel overlooking the village, long ago abandoned by mysterious forerunners who may have left a hidden treasure behind. At a graceful pace, details emerge about the village's history until a shocking truth is revealed. Written in a restrained but lyrical language, To the Spring, by Night is a captivating portrait of a lost world. From the book The earth on which we trod each day, where our feet communed with time and memory, and our heads with the promises of the heavens. The earth that sheltered our village, so small when again I see it from afar perched in time amid the mountains. Our village that among those mountains was of such small consequence, disappearing behind the merest rock, lost from sight around the mildest curve. To think that living beings and things spent their entire lives on earth, before returning to the water, in this small place. But it seems very big, vast even, when I see myself small in its streets, small upon its rocks, when I see my life unfold again dwarfed by this immensity that has known so many millennia.
- MQUP, March 2013
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