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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction



Perihen Magden

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To purchase Escape

Title: Escape
Author: Perihen Magden
Genre: Novel
Written: 2007 (Eng. 2012)
Length: 208 pages
Original in: Turkish
Availability: Escape - US
Escape - UK
Escape - Canada
Escape - India
Wovor wir fliehen - Deutschland
In fuga - Italia
  • Turkish title: Biz kimden kaçıyorduk Anne ?
  • Translated by Kenneth Dakan

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Our Assessment:

B : a bit one-note, but a decent psychological thriller

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Escape is the story of a mother and daughter on the run. Most of the quick, short chapters are narrated by the daughter, a girl apparently in her early or mid-teens, with the occasional outside perspective offered from someone who has encountered them -- staff or guests at the hotels they stay at, for example.
       It is unclear, for most of the novel, what the two are running from -- but mom sure has a great sense of urgency, and the daughter has gotten used to her insisting that they leave at the drop of a hat (and leave all their possessions behind, too). They've been on the run forever, it seems, and they've traveled widely too -- to New York (ever so briefly), Florence, India, and Thailand, among other places. Mom apparently has a decent amount of money, though recently they've had to watch their expenditures more closely, and they don't travel quite so far any more, spending most of their time in Turkey, rather than going abroad.
       They make a striking pair. Many who see them doubt the woman is the girl's mother; the girl herself is a stunning beauty (and a very good swimmer) and the woman is an old crone. Mom often reads Bambi to the girl -- and calls her 'Bambi' (or 'baby') too -- though she's no great fan of Bambi's mom, reassuring the kid that she will do a much better job of protecting her. As to what she's protecting her from, that remains unclear for much of the novel -- though she seems to be protecting the girl from everything, including most other human contact and certainly from things like school.
       The girl's account isn't just of the present, as she also describes previous trips and encounters, filling in a bit of background about their constant flight. But she remains in the dark about the essential question:

     Why are they there ? Why do they find us ? Why do they upset us, Mother, you and me ?
       Whatever the danger is that the mother senses, it remains invisible to the girl. If 'they' do indeed keep finding the two, the mother and daughter nevertheless manage to escape from them repeatedly before there is any real confrontation. The girl has little choice but to follow blindly. As one observer puts it about the mother:
     She wanted to be her whole life. Like a guard, a prison warden, a hostage taker.
       So is there a possibility of true escape for the two of them ? Or, perhaps, a slightly different kind of escape for the girl alone ... ?
       Escape is a psychological thriller, and hinges in no small part on the nature of what they are fleeing. Contemporary readers immediately imagine: an abusive husband and father, or a suffocating and dangerous family -- or, as some observers suggest, that the woman and child are not, in fact, mother and daughter and that the woman had kidnapped the child. Magden keeps readers guessing for much of the novel, before revealing the pieces of the final picture.
       It makes for some good tension and decent suspense in a fairly well-turned little thriller. Magden doesn't allow her readers to get settled -- just like the mother, who tries to (re)create a sense of normality in every new hotel room (which they tend to furnish and fill themselves, down to the curtains and sheets) only to upend their lives in flash yet again. The absence of details throughout can get a bit annoying -- information is carefully revealed (and concealed) -- and life on the run comes to feel a bit repetitive, but he final twists are pretty decent.

- M.A.Orthofer, 31 January 2013

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Escape: Reviews: Other books by Perihan Mağden under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Turkish author Perihan Mağden was born in 1960.

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© 2013 the complete review

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