By Fatma Durmush
Key Themes: schizophrenia, fiction, womanhood, ethnicity, sexual experience
This book is a mixture of fact and fiction. Fatma Durmush has experienced homelessness but she has never been to prison. Sex and Lies has an emotional truth about the under dog, which much of Durmush’s writing has. Her stories are sharp and concise and her brevity is refreshing. Because Durmush has known many ex cons – her father spent six months in prison for a fight which left the Greek man in a coma – Durmush also worked for the Big Issue and was regular there.
The book has many things of interest; the mother who abandons her kids. Well, when Durmush was growing up her mother was constantly dying in hospital, receiving the last rites, and these traumas come in useful now and these stories draw one into these hellish experiences. Without giving away much the book is a mixture of detail and comedy, unexpectedly the humor is dark but it is there. The book is alive with insights into the Muslim women. Durmush is a Turkish woman and she knows what it was like thirty years ago and now and what it means to be young and Muslim. In the 70’s and 80’s Durmush had suitors coming trying to force her into marriage but Durmush thought that the voice was the husband and so refused all the offers. Her being misguided, now she lives to regret, but in the stories the characters find their fulfillments or desires or like Durmush they go it alone but it is a question of choice.
About the Author
For thirty odd years Fatma Durmush wanted to write to succeed in writing. But she was stuck in the family business writing “I Sit In the Light”. She had no idea that she was dyslexic and writing is no fool to weakness. She wrote reams of stuff whom no one published. When she wrote the story which got published, “She”, Durmush was so surprised. She ran from the post office to the café and read the magazine with her story in it. Then she could not repeat the success and the voices took over, for many years there was nothing but work and writing and nothing.
Morley College was where she learnt how to be creative but it seemed with the voices that she could not succeed. Durmush went from course to course trying to repeat the “She” story experience, then she started to get better and joined the poetry class. But being dyslexic she did not read books, it took Durmush a long time to read. Her first book was “Figure in Black” and it is a poetry book. Then Durmush was attacked, knifed, pretty badly and she stopped working in the café and started painting. In 2000 Durmush became well enough to study GNVQ and then to get a degree and now she is finishing her Masters. She says that for all the schizophrenics out there, there is a place…
She’s searching for an identity.
The identity of a raped woman.
That isn’t hers.
In her culture or her father’s,
a raped woman is nothing.
She has no choice but to go
into the whorehouse.
“But I’m not to blame.”
But she is inarticulate,
she hasn’t spoken
to anyone about it.
Her tormentor is considered her lover.
She has no energy to refute this.
Besime has not talked about this.
The family thinks she is besotted.
So does she.
But it is hatred, seething and bloody.
How can someone human be vicious?
Besime is wearing the veil
to protect her. She is young
and defensive and yet she could
have been anyone as she went
on buses and found no one to aid her.
The riots in London had been and gone
the year that princess Diana had married our prince.
When, people saw Besime they laughed.
She looked odd.
She shivered, looked respectable with the veil.
she could have seen more
than the average woman if it was not for her weak eyes.
Mr Ozturk kissed her,
she was bound in honour to marry him.
She did not want to marry an old man.
If she stayed her culture would destroy her.
Tell the world that she hated him, and she did not.
She had to leave home.
If her misdemeanour were to be discovered
she would be killed,
or married to him,
an old man who had made her miserable.
she were reincarnated
where would she be?
She had to piss elsewhere,
anywhere but in the family toilet.
She wrote a note.
She said something simple
for she was not massively educated, and she left –
The house had seen the rape.