The King of Taksim Square

Rating: Unrated
The King of Taksim Square

At first glance, seventeen-year-old Çağlar İyice seems like a Turkish translation of Holden Caulfield: he’s certainly disaffected enough. But unlike Salinger’s grumpy teenager, Çağlar has something compelling to occupy his mind: making his nine-year-old sister into a YouTube star, using her skill as a Michael Jackson-style moonwalker. Then unpleasant reality intrudes: for it’s May 2013, and Gezi Park, in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, is being occupied by protestors, much to the annoyance of the Turkish government, which is cracking down on things like, well, YouTube. Then somewhere in the confusion the girl was kidnapped — maybe. Çağlar isn’t sure. But he’s going to succeed at getting her back, even though he’s failed at everything else in life. At least, that’s how he’d tell it, when he’s not ranting about the general misery of life. Still, he’s a reliable narrator, almost, and he’s quite good at mocking minor government functionaries and fringe political parties and the notion that anything useful can come out of the protests. (This is a translation of Serbes’ Deliduman.)