Short-listed for the 2020 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection
“As profound as it is lyrical. The stories are music.” —Marcela Davison Avilés, NPR
In Ayse Papatya Bucak’s dreamlike narratives, dead girls recount gas explosions and a chess-playing automaton falls in love. A student stops eating, and no one knows whether her act is personal or political. A Turkish wrestler, a hero in the East, is seen as a brute in the West. And in the masterful title story, the Greek god Apollo confronts his personal history to memorialize, and make sense of, generations of war. A joy and a provocation, Bucak’s stories confront the nature of memory with humor and myth, performance and authenticity.
About the Author
Ayse Papatya Bucak’s short fiction has been selected for the O. Henry and Pushcart prizes. She lives in Delray, Florida, where she is an associate professor in the MFA program at Florida Atlantic University.
A wonder cabinet of stories [each] so singular and marvelous.
— Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
This collection absolutely glows with life.
— Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State
A surrealist wunderkammer in which the lines between history and myth, reality and performance, and the cultural and personal are blurred and redrawn.
Bucak’s luminous debut taps folklore and real life to flesh out complex characters with an agile, inventive hand.
The Trojan War Museum is a unique balancing act, a testament to Bucak’s ability to juggle multiple moods and themes in a way that corresponds with the reality of actual human emotion and captures the complexity of personal motivations.… This sophisticated understanding of human behavior, along with Bucak’s exceptionally clever plotlines, elevate the collection to greatness.
— Lisa Butts
The author astutely deploys a range of styles and techniques that create a cerebral, multifarious collection. Bucak’s remarkable, inventive, and humane debut marks her as a writer to watch.
Cerebral yet high-spirited.