They Burn the Thistles

By Yashar Kemal; Margaret E. Platon (Translator); Bill McKibben (Introduction by)
(New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590171851, 412pp.)

Publication Date: November 21, 2006

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Turkey's greatest novelist, Yashar Kemal is an unsurpassed storyteller who brings to life a world of staggering violence and hallucinatory beauty. Kemal's books delve deeply into the entrenched social and historical conflicts that scar the Middle East. At the same time scents and sounds, vistas of mountain and stream and field, rise up from the pages of his books with primitive force.
Memed--introduced in Kemal's legendary first novel, "Memed, My Hawk," and a recurrent character in many of his books--is one of the few truly mythic ļ¬gures of modern fiction, a desperado and sometime defender of the oppressed who is condemned to wander in the blood-soaked gray zone between justice and the law. In "They Burn the Thistles," one of the finest of Kemal's novels, Memed is on the run. Hunted by his enemies, wounded, at wit's end, he has lost faith in himself and has retreated to ponder the vanity of human wishes. Only a chance encounter with an extraordinarily beautiful and powerful stallion, itself a hunted creature, serves to restore his determination and rouse him to action.

About the Author
YASHAR KEMAL was born into a Kurdish family in a village in southern Anatolia and saw his father brutally murdered at the age of five. He received his basic education in village schools before working as an agricultural laborer, factory-worker, public letter-writer, and journalist. His first novel, "Memed, My Hawk" won the Varlik Prize for best novel of the year in 1955. Kemal's numerous other books include "The Wind from the Plain" trilogy, "Salman the Solitary, Seagull," and three other books recounting the expoits of Memed, including, "They Burn the Thistles." He lives in Istanbul, as its preeminent man of letters and is a perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
BILL MCKIBBEN is a former staff writer for "The New Yorker." His books include "Hundred Dollar Holiday, Maybe One, The End of Nature, The Age of Missing Information" and "Hope, Human and Wild." McKibben is a frequent contributor to a wide variety of publications, including "The New York Review of Books, Outside," and "The New York Times." He lives with his wife and daughter in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Bill McKibben is American author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him "the planet's best green journalist," and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was "probably the country's most important environmentalist." McKibben is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine. McKibben has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.
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