The Wind From The Plain

The Wind From The Plain


Part One in the acclaimed The Wind from the Plain trilogy

Turkey’s greatest novelist, Yashar Kemal was an unsurpassed storyteller who brought to life a world of staggering violence and hallucinatory beauty. Kemal’s books delve deeply into the entrenched social and historical conflicts that scar the Middle East. At the same time scents and sounds, vistas of mountain and stream and field, rise up from the pages of his books with primitive force. The Wind from the Plains trilogy is widely seen as his masterpiece, alongside the legendary Memed My Hawk.

Each year the wind brings the news to old Halil's keen senses that the cotton is ripe for picking in the plain, and at his word the entire population of his remote village in the Taurus Mountains set out on the arduous trek.

But this year old Halil finds himself too old to go on foot; so does Long Ali's aging mother, Meryemdje, and both clamour for a place on the back of Long Ali's broken-down nag, scarcely capable of bearing either of the two old people. Halil's determination to stay on and Meryemdje's to get him off lead to a war of words and cunning which lights with delicious comedy the sombre drama of the march. But when the decrepit animal finally dies, and the group falls behind the rest of the villagers, it is the unfortunate Ali who has to show piety towards his mother and compassion to old Halil, while pressing on with dogged resolution to reach the cotton fields before they are picked bare.

The power of The Wind from the Plain, the first volume of The Wind from the Plain trilogy, lies in its simplicity, which in turn lies in the handful of unforgettable characters whose story it tells - the timeless one of survival.


  • [He] has the freshness and vigour of a writer who, one suspects, is the exultant discoverer of virgin territory... It asserts its status as literature

About the author

Yashar Kemal

Yashar Kemal (1923 - 2015) was born on the cotton-growing plains of Chukurova, which feature in his The Wind from the Plain trilogy. His championship of poor peasants lost him a succession of jobs, but he was eventually able to buy a typewriter and set himself up as a public letter-writer in the small town of Kadirli. After a spell as a journalist, he published a volume of short stories in 1952, and then, in 1955, his first novel Memed, My Hawk won the Varlik Prize for best novel of the year. His highly distinguished literary career continued in this vein; his work won countless prizes from all over the world and has been translated into several languages. Kemal was a member of the Central Committee of the banned Workers' Party, and in 1971 he was held in prison for 26 days before being released without charge. Subsequently, he was placed on trial for action in support of Kurdish dissidents. Among the many international prizes and honours he received in recognition of his gifts as a writer and his courageous fight for human rights, were the French Légion d'Honneur and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, as well as being nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kemal was Turkey's most influential living writer and, in the words of John Berger, "one of the modern world's great storytellers".
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