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Novels

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DENİZİN ÇAĞIRIŞI

Published by Yurt ve Dünya Kültür Yayınları, Ankara 1943; 2.ed. Bilgi Yayınları,Ankara 1972, 1-4.ed. Can Yayınları, Istanbul 2020

Bilbaşar's first novel is about the slow descent into depression of a small town school teacher, unable to adapt to his environment in the large city where he is newly assigned.  This book is considered the first example of "psychological alienation" in the Turkish literature. (Oktay Ahmet, Cumhuriyet Dönemi Edebiyatı-Literature of the Republic Period, 1993)


Denizin Cagirisi (The Call of the Sea) is among the100 Best Novels of Turkish Literature selected by a jury of 100 literary critics, writers, academics, literature teachers and publishers hosted by the daily Hurriyet Pazar in 2017.

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AY TUTULDUĞU GECE

Published by Kovan Kitabevi Yayınları, İzmir 1961, 2. ed.TekinYayınevi, İstanbul 1970, 1-2 ed.Can Yayınları Istanbul 2020

Bilbaşar's second novel describes life in a small fishing and olive-growing town on the Aegean coast, observes fishermen's and peasants' daily problems, and suggests the role that an intellectual can play to help small people improve their condition.  

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CEMO

Published by Evren Yayınları, İstanbul 1966; 1-11nd ed. Tekin Yayınevi, İstanbul 1996; 1-24th ed. Can Yayınları, İstanbul 2021 Gemmo, Peter Owen, London, UK, 1976 (UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, Turkish Series)

Considered Bilbaşar's best work, CEMO is a novel which has its setting in the 1930's in the eastern part of Turkey, where the feudal system persists with its tribal chiefs owning villages, the peasants working on land as share-cropping serfs.  Unsuccessful attempts by the government follow one another to reform this feudal structure of the society.  CEMO is the story of a Kurdish girl, narrated first by her father and then by her husband.  This narrative style in which the novel is written remains faithful to the epic-oral tradition of the Turkish folk literature.

 

CEMO won Turkey's highest literary award, the Türk Dil Kurumu Roman Ödülü, in 1967.  

 

In 2006, the Turkish Ministry of Education selected CEMO in the list of "100 Major Literary Works" recommended to high school students. It has since been re-edited frequently.

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MEMO

Published by Tekin Yayınevi, İstanbul 1969, 1-4.ed. Can Yayınları, İstanbul 2018

This novel continues the story of CEMO, showing that the prevailing feudal system will not be abolished unless fundamental reforms are engaged in. It deals with Kemal Atatürk's attempts at land reform and tells how in pioneering to carry them through, the Kurdish tribe led by Memo and Senem meets disaster due to the corruption of gendarmes by reactionary forces.  

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YEŞİL GÖLGE

Published by May Yayınları, 1-2 ed. Can Yayınları, İstanbul 2015

Winner of  May Edebiyat Ödülü award for the best novel of the year in 1970, YEŞİL GÖLGE has its setting in the Black Sea region.  ²In this novel, I tried to show the revival in the years 1945-1946 of the reactionary movement which was in hideout, daunted during the Ataturk era, and its reorganisation to capture the political power which later materialized," wrote Bilbaşar.

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BAŞKA OLUR AĞALARIN DÜĞÜNÜ

Published by Cem Yayınevi, İstanbul 1972, 3.ed. Can Yayınları, İstanbul 2013

In this novel, Bilbaşar compares life in villages and small towns, revealing the problems generated by a rapid growth.  

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KÖLELİK DÖNEMECİ

Published by Tekin Yayınevi, 1-2 ed. Can Yayınları, İstanbul 2015

Bilbaşar's only work set outside of today's Turkey, the novel takes place at the end of the 18th century, in the Caucasian region of the Ottoman Empire, the Circassian tribes fight against the Russians.  With this backdrop, it relates the movements for independence of minorities in the Ottoman Empire precursory to its eventual dismemberment. It also relates the pernicious role played by Western countries in the Empire's economic collapse, profiting from the country's efforts toward Westernization.

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BEDOŞ

Published by Yazko, İstanbul 1980, 1-2 ed. Can Yayınları, İstanbul 2015

Bilbaşar here writes about the enthusiastic first generation of the Atatürk era, with its strong secularism and sense of duty. The key character is his wife Bedia.

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ZÜHRE NİNEM

Published by Yazko, İstanbul 1981, 1-2 ed.Can Yayınları, İstanbul 2015

Kemal Bilbaşar's last novel is set in the Balkans in early 1900, tracing the life of his grandmother Zühre.  

In the words of literary critic Şükran Kurdakul: His last two books are important in revealing to us the author's cultural source book, his geographic background and his sensitivities.. (Çağdaş Türk Edebiyatı-Contemporary Turkish Literature, 1994)

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YONCA KIZ

Published by Yazko, İstanbul 1981, 1-43 ed. Can Yayınları, İstanbul 2021

The story of a little girl, Kemal Bilbaşar wrote this novel for children at a time where there were very few Turkish books for children other than those translated from foreign literature.

 

n 2006, the Turkish Ministry of Education selected YONCA KIZ in the list of "100 Major Literary Works" recommended to primary school students. It has since been re-edited frequently.

     Cover pages of some earlier editions

 

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