by Aysegül Savas
from the June 3, 2019 issue of The New Yorker
Aysegül Savas’s debut novel, Walking on the Ceiling, came out a few weeks ago, and here we have her debut in The New Yorker. She is another new author to me. To make matters worse, today being Memorial Day holiday here in the United States, I haven’t even looked at the story yet. Let’s do it together. Here is the first bit:
I heard her upstairs in the studio, in the kitchen, late at night when I was in my room. Afternoons, there was no sign of her. Some days I thought that she — Agnes — must have left the city, gone back to the town where her husband lived, perhaps to recover some of her belongings. She’d told me she would be staying for only a day or two while she sorted things out, at most a week. But then I would hear her sounds again around the apartment.
There was nothing I could object to, nothing that interfered with my days. The rent was already so low, and the arrangement had been that she might use her studio when she was visiting the city. Besides, it would be pointless to look for another place, when I had only a few months left to complete my research before I returned to my university in the south. Maybe a year, if my funding came through.
I’d read about the recent discovery of a pilgrim’s letters from the thirteenth century, during his travels to the country’s northern cathedrals. The pilgrim had described the stone sculptures depicting the Day of Judgment with frankness and sympathy, with no squeamishness or evasion of their sex, their smooth and fleshy limbs, or with any hint of judgment toward the fallen bodies. In my application to extend my fellowship, I explained the effect this finding would have on my research on the Gothic iconography of the soul.
Hmm, I like this slow start. Lots of interesting details that have me feeling like I’m entering a world with some significance. It helps that I like to look at and consider Judgment paintings.
So let’s see what we have here! Please comment below and let us know what you think. Are any of you going to go read her debut?