Cesmi Ersoz’s Confessions of a Love Come Undone is not a beach read. Between the explicative title and the grim artwork of the English-language edition—an unfocused couple in a street of shadows and heavily shuttered doors—the tone of the well-known Turkish author’s slim novel is unmistakable: Love hurts. A lot.
But if the conceit is one we know all too well, the way Ersoz writes his tale is fresh and intense—not to mention enlightening.
As the title promises, Confessions examines the entrails of a love affair now dead. In alternating chapters, a young woman and her former lover detail their ongoing agony, their crimes against self and other, and their reasons for doing as they did. The narrative slips back and forth in time as if stories are shared as they come to mind. The result is a compelling work of “he-said-she-said” that begs the reader to turn the pages and follow the downward spiral. It is eloquent, devastating, and as fascinating as a train wreck.
“Her love no longer sufficed for me; the voids that grew out of the routines of our relationship increased my longing for the love of others,” says the male protagonist of his female counterpart,” explaining his infidelity.
Meanwhile, “I was totally alone,” she says of her life in Istanbul. “The sound of rain now reminds me that the door has closed on my dream of finding love. Rain signifies the end, the end of love, the end of my life. It’s raining again. It’s night time again. It’s Istanbul again.”
With rampant infidelity and a spate of psychological sexual games, the novel offers a peek into a sophisticated, if tarnished, outlook on human romantic relationships. For the mature reader, Ersoz’s novel is a glimpse into a dark mirror. When the lovers remember their insecurities and unhealed wounds, the reader is gifted with jarring insight into the way people shape their identities and interface with others. “You are so afraid of loneliness that you approach the most insincere people in the world, call them brother and hug them, so that they will love that loneliness that has become you,” admits the male lover of his own downward trajectory in love.
Confessions, released in the spring of 2012 by Citlembik / Nettleberry, is a best-selling title in Turkey. Ersoz is prolific writer in that nation, having released several works in his native language. To date, Confessions is his only title in English.