Told from four different perspectives, At the Breakfast Table is a story of hidden histories and family secrets, from the author of The Silence of Scheherazade.
Prinkipo Island, Turkey, 2017.
In the glow of a late summer morning, family gather for the 100th birthday of the famous artist Sirin Saka. It ought to be a time of fond reminiscence, looking back on a long and fruitful artistic career, on memories spanning almost a century, and of an era when imperial forces fought over her homeland.
But the deep past is something Sirin has spent a lifetime trying to conceal. Her grandchildren, Nur and Fikret, and great grandchild, Selin, do not know what Sirin is hiding, though they are intimately aware of the secret's psychological consequences. The siblings invite family friend and investigative journalist Burak along to interview Sirin for his weekly column in celebration of her 100th year. They hope he will help unravel the family secrets and persuade her to talk. Sirin's life-long servant Sadik, is determined to do all he can to protect the artist.
Eventually Sirin begins to express her pain the only way she knows how. She paints the story onto her dining room wall, revealing a history wiped from public consciousness and the cause of her family's anguish that has sat, ruinous, in their subconscious for generations.
Praise for The Silence of Scheherazade:
'Suman's voice and descriptions are so unique and enveloping. I love the characters and reading her work is an utterly delightful experience' Buki Papillon, author of An Ordinary Wonder
'The Silence of Scheherazade is a magnificent and illuminating historical novel concerned with every day life in the diverse Ottoman Empire' Foreword
'At once breathtakingly sweeping and textured with alluringly fine detail, this beautifully written story set in the Aegean city of Smyrna in the lead up to WWI is a sumptuous tour de force' LoveReading
'Suman deftly paints a picture of a city which endures occupation after occupation, a quiescent powder keg inching closer and closer to the flame with each influx of new political superpowers ... Suman's tale is at its heart about those small people living their daily lives within the city, loving each other and the land beneath them ... Göksel handles the translation of this complex tale just as skillfully as Suman herself weaves it' Asympote