The Memory of Salt
Giramondo, $27.95 pb, 304 pp, 9781920882907
Alice Melike Ülgezer’s début novel is both exotic and familiar: a story of journeys, physical and philosophical, of a family with its roots in Istanbul and Melbourne. The first of these is a short ferry crossing of the Bosporus taken by Ali, a young woman (or is she a young man? gender seems immaterial here) from Melbourne who is in Istanbul to visit her father’s family. Her father – variously named Akyut, Ahmet, Ayk, Baba, and Captain Schizophrenia – is present. In the pre-dawn darkness, he is troubled, not an unusual state for him. The wild behaviour of this unstable but magnetic man forms something of a catalogue aria in the book, occasionally amusing but more often horrifyingly violent.