Istanbul Was A Fairy Tale

Maureen Freely, Mario Levi


Istanbul Was a Fairy Tale is a post-modern novel on a grand scale that follows three generations of an Istanbul Jewish family from the Ottoman Empire to the late 20th century. Istanbul is their only home, and yet they live in a state of alienation, isolating themselves from the world around them. Leading Turkish novelist Mario Levi came to Jewish Book Week to share the essence of Istanbul and its storied past.

“Istanbul Was a Fairy Tale—and was much more: a dream, an illusion, a promise of a perfect world . . . The author’s perspective ranges widely as he effortlessly incorporates the oral traditions of the Orient into the structures and subversions of postmodern literature. Levi has created a monumental portrait of human existence itself . . . Reminiscent of James Joyce and Edmond Jabès.” — Carsten Hueck, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Mario Levi

Mario Levi is a writer of novels who has worked as a French teacher, journalist and copywriter. He lectures at Yeditepe University, Istanbul. Istanbul Was a Fairy Tale is his first work to be translated into English.

Maureen Freely

Maureen Freely was born in the US but grew up in Istanbul, where her family still lives. She was educated at Radcliffe College (Harvard University) and has spent most of her adult life in England. A professor at the University of Warwick, and currently the chair of the Translators Association, she has translated five books by the Turkish novelist and Nobel Laureate, Orhan Pamuk. Her sixth novel,Enlightenment (her third novel to be set in Istanbul) was published by Marion Boyars in 2007.