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THE ONLY THING THEY KNEW WAS LOVE

Meltem Arıkan’s most recent novel. As was already the case in her last book Erospa, we once again come across an artistic blend of reality and fiction. What is most striking is maybe not so much the story itself but its unusual structure as well as the writer’s skilful play with words and different narrative techniques, including regular poem-like interruptions, a traditional fairytale and dialogues in SMS style. This technique of writing a novel within a novel makes the reader draw parallels between the inner conflicts of both women. It is not a coincidence that İnci Tanır sets her story’s plot in Wales to create a geographical distance between herself and her fictional characters. The love story she describes is a mix of unhealthy power games and supernatural elements, showing women as omnipotent witches and weak, oppressed individuals at the same time. More often than not, love is experienced as a source of danger and manipulation, wiping out the few moments of happiness that came with it.As its title clearly tells, Meltem Arıkan’s novel is about love in its many shades. Those who know a bit about her main concerns in life, may also find her general observations about power games, nature, violence against women and the urgent need for emotional emancipation insightful. Her philosophical digressions on the purposes of writing and the modern phenomenon of multiple identities are also worth thinking about.