Asya and Manu are looking at apartments, envisioning their future in a foreign city. Removed from the web of family and its obligations, what traditions and rituals should they establish together?
As they dream about the possibilities of each new listing, Asya, a documentary filmmaker, spends her days gathering footage from the neighbourhood park like an anthropologist observing local customs, anxious to know how people really live. ‘Forget about daily life,’ chides her grandmother on the phone, ‘no one cares about that.’
Meanwhile, life back in Asya and Manu's respective home countries continues – parents age, grandparents get sick, nieces and nephews grow up – all just slightly beyond their reach. But the world they're making in their new city is growing, too, they hope. As they open up the horizons of their lives, what and whom will they hold onto, and what will they need to release?
Unfolding over a series of apartment viewings, late-night conversations, last rounds of drinks and lazy breakfasts, The Anthropologists is a soulful examination of home-building and modern love, written with Aysegül Savaş’ distinctive elegance, warmth and humour.
‘Yet another gorgeous, gorgeous book from Aysegül Savaş: she is an author who simply, and astoundingly, knows. Savaş knows hope. Savaş knows despair. Savaş knows joy, and malaise, and laughter and curiosity. There are worlds inside of Savaş' prose, and The Anthropologists is both a bright light and a map for how to be. A massively heartening achievement.’
– Bryan Washington, author of Family Meal
‘Like Walter Benjamin, Ayşegül Savaş uncovers trapdoors to bewilderment everywhere in everyday life; like Henry James, she sees marriage as a mystery, unsoundably deep. The Anthropologists is mesmerising; I felt I read it in a single breath.’
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