Boş Zaman - Hakan Bıçakcı

Novel, İletişim Publishers

147 pages, 2004

Spare Time / Summary

The protagonist wakes up in a house he does not know. He has not the slightest idea who he is. He later learns that his name is Harun and that he is a history teacher who has lost his memory. His loss of memory, which is said to be temporary, just does not pass, and Harun, trapped in a present without a past, has to rebuild his identity by pursuing his past.

The narrator wakes up in a room he does not know. He has no idea who he is. He has no more knowledge about himself and his surroundings than the reader. He panics. Then a woman enters and asks, ‘My dear Harun, how are you?’

We learn with him, from his wife who enters, that his name is Harun, that he has experienced a temporary loss of memory as a result of a road accident, and that before the accident he was a lecturer researching into witches and witch hunts in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Harun feels as though he has fallen onto a foreign planet. Strange, hair-raising scenes, that have remained in his mind from his former research, continually filter through the modern city life into which he has been flung. Relatives come to the house to celebrate his recovering. Harun remembers none of them. He does not like these strange people who take a close interest in him. He spends his days wandering like a ghost with no past in the house, rummaging through the old photographs and his personal belongings in the untidy place that was his study at one time. He receives a weird energy from the building opposite the house. While considering the sea behind the building as a symbol of the unimportance of remembering, he relates the building with remembering and his struggle to rebuild his past. He begins to ascribe the objects inside the house with similar symbolic meanings.

Days full of nightmares, fear and anxiety follow in quick succession. Harun has serious doubts that he is not the person he is told he is, and that his real family is not the people around him. This wearing paranoia that he shares with no one expands within him, being fed with various dreams and delusions. Some documents from the past thoroughly confuse him.

He gets into the habit of wandering around Beyoğlu on his own. He becomes a regular at a small cafe at Tünel. There, it is not a handicap not to have any idea of the past. Just like himself, no one in the cafe knows his past.

The building opposite his house is completed and the sea can no longer be seen. Harun is too powerless to return to his old life and too tired to establish a new one. The memory loss, said to be temporary, does not seem to be going to get better. The shape in his mind of his lost past continually changes with his identity.