Sweet Tooth and Other Stories
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
Sales Date: 05/14/2024
Queerness, labels, and allyship are central themes in this moving collection of stories set in Turkey, where Middle Eastern and Euro-American expressions of identity collide and naming one's orientation is a fraught endeavor. An eleven-year-old undergoes hand surgery that will allow him to wear a wedding ring in adulthood. Two college roommates reach an erotic understanding as they indulge in dessert. A sex worker travels with an American same-sex marriage activist through the Aegean countryside. A passionate hookup during Istanbul Pride ends in tear gas. Two friends' tempers flare over cold red wine on a hot summer night by the Dardanelles. A father bonds with his son and his son's drag-queen boyfriend over classic Turkish cinema on the Mediterranean coast.
In Sweet Tooth and Other Stories, Serkan Görkemli weaves together interconnected narratives of four Turkish characters—Hasan, Gökhan, Nazlı, and Cenk—who search for clarity, love, and acceptance amid social change. Set in a rich mixture of urban and rural locales, the stories take place from the 1980s through the 2010s against the backdrop of Turkey's transition from military-backed secularism to the rise of the religious right, local and global media representations of queer individuals and culture, and the emergence of affirming LGBTQ+ identities. Görkemli creates a complex, engaging network of plots about his characters' struggles and triumphs in navigating families, communities, and themselves. Braving discrimination, they strive to embrace their identities and find joy, solace, and approval within a society that marginalizes who they are and how they love.