Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Prophet Murders

I've been meaning to post about this book for ages but haven't got round to it. Now I have a bit of time I thought I would write a few paragraphs about it.

The Prophet Murders (Wikipedia entry, listing on Amazon) is written by Turkish author Mehmet Murat Somer, and has been translated into English. At first I thought there were a few things that seemed a little quirky about the translation, just odd phraseology, but I got over them and it could be more about the writing style than a difficulty getting it into English.

The main character in the book is a transvestite, owner of her own club and computer whizz. The murders obviously take place among the trans community and this provides the backdrop for the book. From the summary on the back of the book I thought that this was all going to be over-the-top with many outfit changes and ridiculous stereotypes, but it's not. Ignore all the glib sales-speak, the story is interesting, well-paced, and covers the characters honestly.

What I found particularly fascinating was the setting for the book; Turkey, a Muslim country with, if the depiction is to be believed, a very tolerant attitude to trans people. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the transvestitism/transexuals are fully accepted but it shows that they seem to be something like an accepted 'evil' in some ways. Whatever you may feel about the views portrayed in the book it's interesting to see a possible viewpoint of a different country/religion/culture.

One thing the book explains to me is why I get so many friend requests on FaceBook from guys in Turkey and similar countries!

I have the second book, The Kiss Murder, which I will get onto reading when I get through my current stack of books. Based on the experience of The Prophet Murders I'm looking forward to an interesting and exciting read and I would highly recommend this author and this series of books.


LucyTolliday said...

I've read a few articles about trans peoples in Turkey one was positive another less so. But not as hostile as some night think.

chrissie said...

Hostility towards TG folk in Muslim countries is, I understand, uncommon.

Whilst homosexuality is not tolerated, transsexualism is. I rcall reading somewhere that Iran, a bastion of fundamentalism, has an excellent reputation for the standard of its GRS surgery.

In Europe however, it seems that fundamentalist Islam has taken on a lot of the values of the western religious right, and does NOT demonstrate the same acceptance of transsexualism found in most muslim countries.

It would be interesting to dig up some more articles on this subject.


Fiona Bianchi said...

I think the book actually covers a possible explanation for the tolerance of transsexualism which is that it, in some ways, makes homosexual acts acceptable.

I've heard this reason before applied to the TV 'admirers' who it's said are likely homosexual men in denial - sex with someone who looks like a woman eases their conscience somewhat.

I think there is also a great tolerance in India also, with MtF trans people actually being identified as an important group (the name of which escapes me).