Just over two years ago Atulya K Bingham published her first novel, and it is one of which she should be justifiably proud.
At a little over 350 pages it explores the physical and psychological journeys of two complex characters: Ayşe, a 38-year-old mother from Istanbul and Harpagos, a Median general from the 6th century BCE as they travel along the rugged trails that form the Lycian Way; but these adventures don’t necessarily in the way you would expect.
When the past is the same country
Ayşe heads out west from Olympus on a quest to leave the past behind. The going is tough and she soon finds herself walking on an ancient footpath steeped in memories. Based on the true story of Ayşe Metin, Ayşe’s Trail deals with themes of inner and outer journeys, returning to the wilderness and being haunted by the past.
Meanwhile, Harpagos is also dealing with his own memories, while traveling on a very different journey and the tragedy of Xanthos looms large on his conscience…
The multi-layered story line is fascinating for anyone interested in the region’s history, as well as the lives of modern Turkish women. Interwoven as it is, with the life and nature of the Lycian Way, describing its ruggedly beautiful geography and traditional lifestyles, a world away from the tourism resorts with which it intersects, it could also attract anyone who has followed that tough and physically exhausting route.
The structure of the story is elaborate but the various threads are cleverly woven together by the author’s clever use of a narrator. From the very beginning the reader immediately connects with the characters. Ayşe’s Trail is a fascinating page-turner, for sure, with a range of characters that use history, legend and local colour to good effect.
The book has received a lot of attention and was elected by Completely Novel for their One Big Book Launch.
About the author
The author, Atulya K Bingham started out as a teacher of modern languages in London. She moved to the south coast of Turkey in 1996 where she has lived and worked ever since. She is an avid traveller and has spent time in India and Taiwan.
Atulya started writing stories about magic when she was six years old. By the time she was a teenager, the real world had intervened telling her to shelve her dreams and get a proper job. She started out as a modern languages teacher in London, but her quest for adventure was hard to kill.
In her mid-twenties she moved to the south coast of Turkey where she has lived and worked ever since. In 2011, Atulya left the teaching profession and moved into a tent onto a piece of land in the Turkish hills. She lived alone for eight months out in the wilds where she reconnected with the magic that had fascinated her as a child. By 2013 she had built an earthbag house and continues to live off-grid, growing her own food, building, painting and writing.
Ayşe’s Trail is available in paperback from the FETAV office in Fethiye or in paperback and iBook form on line at Amazon.