New Internationalist

The Edge of Heaven

March 2008

Yeter is a Turkish woman working as a prostitute in Bremen, Germany. Ali, an elderly client, offers to match her earnings if she moves in with him. Yeter’s daughter, Ayten, a member of an armed left-wing group, has to flee Turkey and heads for Germany looking for her mother. When Yeter dies, Ali’s German-born son, Nejat, who teaches German at the university, goes to Turkey to find Ayten. Please, don’t be put off if this plotting sounds complicated – Akin tells his criss-crossing and twisting story clearly and fluently.

Akin, who was born in Germany of Turkish parents, takes six people – three Turks, two Germans, and a second-generation Turkish-German – out of their natural environments. He shows us how they are products of class, nation and religion. We see their kindness, and their vulnerability, and we see how they can rise above their limitations and prejudices. We learn about relationships between Germany and Turkey, Europe and Asia, men and women, women and women, young and old, comfort and insecurity, traditions and change.

This may sound rather amazing. It is! Rarely will you see a film of such generosity, humanity, subtlety and insight.

This column was published in the March 2008 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 409

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