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Examining Perfection In Literature

On Beauty

Umberto Eco

Is perfect beauty real? If not, how does the concept change throughout history? Best-seller Italian thinker and author Umberto Eco questions the transformation of the understanding of beauty through the course of time and its relevance to fashion, art, and perspective on life. While meandering across thousands of years, all compiled in 17 chapters and 90 headlines, Eco examines the masterpieces of Western culture and offers perfect definitions of various aspects of beauty. Stretching across history from Ancient Greece to modernday Aphrodite and Adonis, this wonderful journey promises a mind-broadening read enriched with visual examples of sculptures, paintings, miniatures, books, clothing, and architecture.

Doctor Faustus

Thomas Mann

A recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, renowned German author Thomas Mann designed Doctor Faustus as his last work. The protagonist of the novel is a talented composer named Adrian Leverkühn, who deems his development as a musician inadequate and does everything in his power to reach a perfect, divine level of creation. Reshaping the legend of Faust who sold his soul to the devil to grant a wish, Thomas Mann questions humanity during the years of World War II and in the depressing atmosphere of postwar years in Germany. The intellectual poverty Germany witnessed in order to achieve success in war and the price for this great achievement are all parts of Mann’s examination. Adapted to cinema by the famous Russian director Alexander Sokurov in 2011 based on Mann’s novel, Faust received the highest prize of the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival in the same year.

A Perfect Distance

Utku Yıldırım

“Why did you invite your friends over, Derin? We’re going to break up. We’re going to break up among our brand-new stuff before the scent of recently purchased furniture stops making us happy. Why did you invite all these people, Derin? We’re going to break up before we can put the dirty glasses on the first rack of the dishwasher, or before we can try to keep the shower door closed so that the floor wouldn’t get wet; yet, none of these people know that.” Ufuk and Derin are a dysfunctional couple. They may be young but they’re hopelessly thrown around by the lightning speed of the times. Can one build a relationship while he’s being dragged along? This novel by Utku Yıldırım isn’t an ordinary text that begins or ends with literary cliches. The entire book presents a scattered unity of moments, recollections, sentences, and half-written headlines. Much like modern relationships, it comprises the sounds and words of a dream we try to hold onto in an uncanny transience. Kusursuz Bir Mesafe (“A Perfect Distance” in Turkish) is the brief and striking story of that perfect distance which can hold galaxies together but immediately disappears when it comes to keeping together the complex creatures known as human beings.

The Imperfectionists

Tom Rachmann

After working as a journalist for years, Tom Rachman gained fame in the literary world when he wrote the book The Imperfectionists about a newspaper. He tells the story of an English language newspaper, published in Rome since the 1950s, through employees and the grandson of the founder of the newspaper who was an American billionaire. Each of the ten chapters of the book tells the story of an employee and, additionally, a reader. The stories of the novel can be read separately while tangents in plots and silently intertwining lives and incidents eventually form a perfect whole. The book was translated into 25 languages, including Turkish, and was nominated for various literary awards in its homeland, Canada.


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