Abandoned by her husband, marooned by an epic snowstorm, a mother gives birth to her third child. Her sense of entrapment turns into a desperate rage in this unblinking portrait of a woman whose powerlessness becomes lethal.
Lojman tells, on its surface, the domestic tale of a Kurdish family living in a small village on a desolate plateau at the foot of the snow-capped mountains of Turkey's Van province. Virtually every aspect of the family's life is dictated by the government, from their exile to the country's remote, easternmost region to their sequestration in the grim "teacher's lodging"--or lojman--to which they're assigned. When Selma's husband walks out one day, he leaves in his wake a storm of resentment between his young children and a mother reluctant to parent them.
Written in startling, raw prose, this novel -- the author's first to be translated into English -- is reminiscent of Elena Ferrante's masterful Days of Abandonment, though its private dramas are made all the more vivid against an imposing natural landscape that exerts a powerful, life-threatening force.
In short, propulsive chapters, Lojman spins a domestic drama crystallized through the family's mental and physical claustrophobia. Vivid daydreams morph with cold realities, and as the family's descent reaches its nadir, their world is transformed into a surreal, gelatinous prison from which there is no escape.
"Ojen has constructed a claustrophobic world in which the mixture of 'some affection and some hatred' that can characterize family life finally spills over into a fantastically violent conclusion. This relentless narrative will stun and frighten readers in the best way." –Publishers Weekly
"Lojman is a feverish account of the thrashings of an imprisoned body and soul and a hallucinatory examination of motherhood, individuality, and romantic love. A dark, original, exciting novel." – Ayşegül Savas, author of Walking on the Ceiling