GIANTS NOWFLAKES SET the scene for this Turkish novel that is part fairy tale, part political allegory. The protagonist, Ka, is a forlorn poet who has written nothing for four years and is visiting Turkey after a long exile in Germany. He travels to Kars, the remote border town where he was brought up, to report on an 'epidemic' of suicides among Muslim girls. This is their extreme response to an edict banning them from wearing headscarves to school.
It's a weighty assignment, but even as he sets out Ka admits that his own motives for travelling to Kars are more selfish. He wants a wife, and he hopes that Ipek, the beautiful girl he remembers from his university days, may be available. So here's a paradox straight away: