Thirty years after completing his military service, Ziya flees the spiraling turmoil and perplexing chaos of the city where he lives to seek a peaceful existence in a remote village--of which he has heard dreamlike tales. Greeted by his old friend from the army, Kenan, who has built and furnished a vineyard house for him, Ziya grows accustomed to his new surroundings and is welcomed by Kenan's family. However, the village does not provide the serenity Ziya yearns for, and old memories of his military service on the treacherous Syrian/Turkish border flood his thoughts. As he battles specters of the past, his rejection of village life provokes an undercurrent of ill feeling among the locals, not least towards Kenan, who has incurred heavy debts by his generosity to the man who may have saved his life.
Toptas masterfully blurs the borders between dreams and reality, truth and memory in this gripping tale. Like Turkey itself, the writer sits between the traditions of the East and the West, creating bold new literature. In his own country he sits comfortably on the shelf beside Orhan Pamuk, and his first novel in English is poised to enchant those same readers.