Kemal is engaged to Sibel but meets Fusan during his engagement and starts up a relationship with her. Kemal becomes obsessed with Fusan and his love for her all the while maintaining his engagement with Sibel. He doesn't want to break off the engagement with Sibel because he knows what damage this will do to her reputation. The storyline of this book takes places in the 1970's and at this time, if a woman was engaged and then became unengaged - no matter the reason - it is assumed that she is no longer a virgin and is therefore tainted goods.
After several months of his relationship with Fusan, she disappears after an argument they had about Sibel and Kemal's engagement. Kemal is heartbroken and tries to find Fusan but she and her family have picked up and moved somewhere. Kemal breaks down and tells Sibel about his relationship with Fusan and asks her forgiveness which she does not give. In fact, she is so angry that she breaks off the engagement with Kemal.
Kemal pines over Fusan and during the relationship with her he collected items that she touched, for example a hair pin or a spoon. He takes comfort in these items by rubbing them over his body. Still, he cannot get Fusan out of his mind. Every little thing in the world reminds him of Fusan. Finally he hires a detective to find her.
When he does find her, she is married to a man named Feridan and both of them are living with her parents. On the pretext that he is a very distant relative of Fusan and her parents, he gets himself invited over for dinner so that he can congratulate Fusan on her marriage. This starts a new relationship with Fusan wherein he goes to dinner at her house 4 or 5 times a week. Each time he steals an item that Fusan has touched so that he can have something of hers even though he can't have her. This goes on for 8 long years.
While I don't appreciate the lack of morals that Kemal displayed - having an affair with Fusan while he was engaged to Sibel - I did really enjoy this book. Every single sentence was thought out carefully by the author and truly showed the state of mind that Kemal was in. Kemal's angst-ridden and tortured soul was thoughtfully detailed in every paragraph and sentence. I also liked the fact that Sibel, despite what society would say about her, was strong enough to dump Kemal when she found out about Fusan.
This book is strangely not a romance novel - despite what it may appear. It isn't even a love story really; it is the story of Kemal's obsession with Fusan.
The interesting thing about this book is that the author actually created a museum that people could go to where they could see all of the items collected by Kemal in the book. You can see this museum's web page translated into English - here.
Rating: 8 / 10
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Edition: 1st American Edition