The Memory of Salt
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Ali’s father is a Turkish circus musician performing in Kabul when Ali’s mother, a young pediatrician from Melbourne, meets him in a bar. He plays the trumpet, the saz, the flute, hears voices that urge him to violence, sees angels in the skies and djinns in the street, inscribes prayers and invocations on the walls of his room, and across the suburb. Ülgezer offers a remarkable portrait of this crazed visionary, a madman and a mystic, intoxicated with hashish and Sufism, who wrecks the family, but is also an enchanted being. Ali’s mother has grown up on Australia’s outback frontiers – their courtship takes them from Afghanistan across Iran to Turkey and then to London where Ali is born. The novel is Ali’s coming to terms with this meeting of two cultures that are at once so similar and so separate.