Farewell, My Beautiful Homeland

Farewell, My Beautiful Homeland

By Ahmet Ümit
Translated by Rakesh Jobanputra

Anthem Cosmopolis Writings

‘Farewell, My Beautiful Homeland’ is the story of a man from Salonika on the eve of the First World War who is forced to choose between his love for a woman and his love for his country as the Ottoman Empire is drawn into the war and faces collapse.

Paperback, 638 Pages


October 2019

£12.99, $18.95

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About This Book

It is the period just before the First World War. The multilingual, multifaith and multicultural Ottoman Empire is facing ruin and annihilation. Şehsuvar Sami is a young man from the city of Salonika whose dream is to move to Paris with his lover Ester and become a writer. However, the uprisings that begin in July 1908 in the Balkans are set to change his destiny, just as they will change the destiny of the entire country. A bit part in an assassination eventually turns him into one of the uprising’s most feared hitmen. Caught between his love of literature and the dark world of politics and struggling to find the strength to resist the pull of history, Şehsuvar ends up becoming a key figure in the new government’s intelligence network. His aim now is not to write novels that will draw people into a world of decency and beauty but to carry out his duties as a servant of the nation and defend his country, even if that means committing murder, mass murder. The reasoning is simple: in order to create a strong and independent country, one must be ready to commit atrocities.

Taking place in Istanbul, Salonika, Paris and Macedonia between 1908 and 1926, ‘Farewell, My Beautiful Homeland’ is the story of lives that have been turned upside down by rebellion, revolution and war. It is the story of the Greek declaration of independence, of the Jews of Salonika being forced into exile, of the Bulgarians fighting for their independence and of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the struggle to create a new nation out of its crumbling ruins. It is also the story of one man’s search for his true calling amidst the chaos of a turbulent historical era, the story of a man caught between his love for his country and his love for his woman. ‘Farewell, My Beautiful Homeland’ is a story of unfulfilled dreams and the call of history. And underpinning it all is one fundamental question, one fundamental struggle: which takes precedence – the state or the people?


Unlike other authors in the genre, Ahmet Ümit does not tamper with the course of history; his plot and his storytelling are constrained by his characters’ story arcs. And this too in a novel that takes place during a highly complex historical period in which it is extremely hard for one to maintain impartiality, a period in history in which it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between the good and the bad and the innocent and the guilty.’ —Koray Sarıdoğan, Kalem Klavye (journal)

‘If I were asked to describe the novel in a single sentence, I would say it is a book about power. The relationship the novel’s main characters forge with power and the manner in which they experience this power and how they succumb to its charms are all expertly portrayed.’ —Professor Muzaffer Kaya, Yol (journal)

Author Information

Ahmet Ümit was born in Gaziantep in 1960. He is the author of over 20 bestselling novels and is one of Turkey’s and the world’s foremost crime fiction writers. His novels, short stories, plays and essays have been translated into 26 languages worldwide.

Rakesh Jobanputra studied at the University of Birmingham and at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. He has translated a number of works of Turkish literature. He currently lives in Istanbul.


Anthem Cosmopolis Writings

Table of Contents

Death Begins with the Loss of Our Cities…; Are You Going to Be a Killer?; An Idea Whose Time Has Come; Your Decision; Dogs Smelling Blood on a Hunt; The Meaning of This Empire for Us; Confronting Death; The Ancient Wound; The Essence of the State; Becoming the Hunted; Like Two Wistful Flowers; The World’s Greatest Mystery; The Love That Will Never Fade; What Does a Single Individual Matter?; A Game of Revenge; The Motherland Is Lost; The Only Thing Keeping Me Alive; No Intention of Surrendering; A Man’s Word Is His Honour; An Inappropriate Sense of Compassion; A Token of a Conversation; I Am Not the One to Decide; Miracles; The Ability to Forgive Ourselves; Losing One’s Humanity; No Choice But to Fight; Give Me an Honourable Death; The Walking Dead; Save Yourself, Soldier; Wishing for Help from the Dead; Resign, Your Excellency!; A False Sense of Security; The True Power in the Land; Betrothed to Life, Married to Death; When the Wolf Dies in the Forest; This Is Not Ankara; Vultures Circling Over an Old Man; Ignoble Alliances; A Betrayal of Their Own History; Fighting for a Lost Cause; Evil Stalks This Land; A Malevolent Rain; A Fragmented Homeland, a Disintegrating World; Turning Us All into Killers; When I Began Losing My Country; Farewell, My Beautiful Homeland; Glossary.


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