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Walking on the Ceiling: Book summary and reviews of Walking on the Ceiling by Aysegül Savas

Walking on the Ceiling

by Aysegül Savas

Walking on the Ceiling by Aysegül Savas X
Walking on the Ceiling by Aysegül Savas
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  • Published Apr 2019
    224 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

A mesmerizing novel set in Paris and a changing Istanbul, about a young Turkish woman grappling with her past - her country's and her own - and her complicated relationship with the famous British writer who longs for her memories.

After her mother's death, Nunu moves from Istanbul to a small apartment in Paris. One day outside of a bookstore, she meets M., an older British writer whose novels about Istanbul Nunu has always admired. They find themselves walking the streets of Paris and talking late into the night. What follows is an unusual friendship of eccentric correspondence and long walks around the city.

M. is working on a new novel set in Turkey and Nunu tells him about her family, hoping to impress and inspire him. She recounts the idyllic landscapes of her past, mythical family meals, and her elaborate childhood games. As she does so, she also begins to confront her mother's silence and anger, her father's death, and the growing unrest in Istanbul. Their intimacy deepens, so does Nunu's fear of revealing too much to M. and of giving too much of herself and her Istanbul away. Most of all, she fears that she will have to face her own guilt about her mother and the narratives she's told to protect herself from her memories.

A wise and unguarded glimpse into a young woman's coming into her own, Walking on the Ceiling is about memory, the pleasure of invention, and those places, real and imagined, we can't escape.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A refined and wistful exploration of the nature of memory." - Kirkus Reviews

"Savas's moving coming-of-age novel offers a rich exploration of intimacy, loneliness, and the endless fluidity of historical, cultural, and personal narrative." - Publishers Weekly

"Like Elizabeth Strout's My Name is Lucy Barton (2017), this novel is deceptively simple and subtly profound and will appeal to those fond of character studies and lovely writing." - Booklist

"Quiet, intense, and moving." - LitHub

"Ayşegül Savaş is an enormous new talent who writes with the rigor of Didion and the tenderness of Sebald. Walking on the Ceiling holds the immediacy of youth and the depth of long-earned wisdom at once. Its elegant voice is sure to summon old memories and longings from each reader, relighting them anew." - Catherine Lacey, author of The Answers

"In Walking on the Ceiling, Aysegul Savas investigates the inability of any story to accurately evoke lived experience—yet her unconventional narrative succeeds in doing just that. Savas's celebration of the minutest details of Paris and Istanbul is juxtaposed, to devastating effect, against rising political tensions. This quietly intense debut is the product of a wise and probing mind." - Helen Phillips, author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat

"Walking on the Ceiling is an elegant meditation on grief, identity, memory and homecoming. Moving between Paris and Istanbul, the novel captures the tangle of narrative around history, both personal and collective. I fell in love with this book." - Katie Kitamura, author of A Separation

Sensual, fragile, scented with hope and loss, Walking on the Ceiling is a powerful debut and Ayşegül Savaş is an extremely talented rising star." - Dorthe Nors, author of Mirror, Shoulder, Signal

This information about Walking on the Ceiling was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

Ayşegül Savaş grew up in Turkey and Denmark. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Guernica, and elsewhere, and was shortlisted for the Glimmer Train Fiction Prize and the Graywolf Emerging Writers Award. She has an MFA from the University of San Francisco. She teaches at the Sorbonne and lives in Paris.

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