The Greatest Turkish "Fiction" Books Since 1980

Click to learn how this list is calculated.

This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 264 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

Filter by: Genres Dates Countries

Genres

Fiction

Add additional genre filters

Countries

Turkish

Add additional country filters

Date Range

Filter

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!

Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download
  1. 1. My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

    Set in the late 16th century Ottoman Empire, this novel explores the conflict between East and West, tradition and innovation, through the lens of miniaturist painters. When a renowned artist is murdered, his colleagues must solve the mystery while grappling with the changes in their art brought about by the western Renaissance. This complex narrative intertwines love, art, religion, and power, offering a deep exploration of the struggles between old and new.

  2. 2. Snow by Orhan Pamuk

    Set in the small city of Kars in northeastern Turkey, the novel follows a Turkish poet who has spent several years in political exile in Germany. He returns to Turkey during a time of political unrest, with tensions high between religious and secular factions. As he becomes embroiled in the turmoil, he also becomes involved in a romantic relationship with a beautiful woman. The city is cut off from the rest of the world by a relentless snowstorm, leading to a series of tragic events. The novel is a contemplation on love, faith, and the tensions between tradition and modernity.

  3. 3. Life is a Carawanserai Has Two Doors I Went in One I Came out the Other by Emine Sevgi Özdamar

    This novel follows the life of a young Turkish girl growing up in the 1950s and 60s, exploring her experiences in a rapidly changing society. The protagonist navigates the complexities of her family life, her struggle with her identity and her eventual emigration to Germany. The book explores themes of female empowerment, cultural clashes, and the immigrant experience, all told through a unique narrative style that blends reality with dreams and folktales.

  4. 4. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

    This novel intertwines two parallel narratives, one set in the 13th century and one in the modern day. The contemporary story follows a discontented American housewife who, while working as a reader for a literary agency, comes across a novel about the 13th-century poet Rumi and his spiritual mentor, Shams of Tabriz. As she delves into their story, she uncovers Shams' forty rules of love and begins to question her own life and relationships. The historical narrative, on the other hand, explores the transformative friendship between Rumi and Shams, and how their bond revolutionized Rumi's poetry and outlook on life.

  5. 5. The Museum Of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

    This novel delves into the obsessive love of Kemal, a wealthy Istanbulite, for Füsun, a distant relative and a shopgirl, which begins in 1975 and spans over 30 years. After a brief affair, Füsun marries another man, but Kemal's love remains unyielding. He starts collecting objects that remind him of his love for her, eventually creating a museum dedicated to their relationship. Set against the backdrop of Istanbul's changing society, the story explores themes of love, longing, class, and the power of memory, as Kemal's life becomes a testament to his unattainable desire, encapsulated within the walls of his museum.

  6. 6. Berji Kristin by Latife Tekin

    The book is a poignant exploration of the lives of squatters in the outskirts of Istanbul during the 1970s and 1980s. Through a blend of magical realism and stark social commentary, it tells the story of a community of rural migrants who, in search of better prospects, build a shantytown named "Flower Hill" on the city's periphery. The narrative delves into the daily struggles, dreams, and communal bonds of these individuals as they grapple with the harsh realities of urban poverty, political upheaval, and rapid modernization that threaten to erase their makeshift neighborhood. The novel is a tapestry of interconnected tales that together paint a vivid portrait of resilience and survival amidst systemic marginalization.

  7. 7. The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk

    The novel focuses on a man searching for his wife in Istanbul, who disappeared without a trace. In his search, he discovers a secret, surreal world in the city and starts to understand his wife's involvement in political activism. The narrative is interwoven with stories from a column written by his wife's half-brother, which the protagonist believes may hold clues to her disappearance. The book is a complex exploration of identity, storytelling, and the role of literature in society.

  8. 8. The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

    "The Bastard of Istanbul" is a novel that tells the story of two families, one Turkish and one Armenian American. It explores the deep, intricate history between the two nations through the eyes of the characters, while also tackling themes of identity, memory, and the past. The narrative unfolds through the perspectives of the women in both families, who carry the burden of their ancestors' secrets, and a young man haunted by the ghost of a long-dead Armenian. The novel delves into the complexities of love, family, and the lasting effects of the Armenian genocide on its descendants.

  9. 9. The Possessed by Elif Batuman

    "The Possessed" is a compelling narrative that combines memoir, criticism, and travel writing to explore the author's deep fascination with Russian literature. Through her experiences as a graduate student at Stanford, her travels to Turkey, Russia, and Uzbekistan, and her encounters with other scholars, the author delves into the works of great Russian authors such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, while also reflecting on the nature of literature, identity, and the human condition.

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!

Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download