The Well of Trapped Words by Sema Kaygusuz

The Well of Trapped Words

Sema Kaygusuz

Talking snakes and otherworldly grandmothers who require spoon-feeding are the stuff of folktales, and unpredictable honorary aunts and local dignitaries driven to extremes by bureaucracy and modernity are hallmarks of a traditional society not coping well with change. Kaygusuz's short stories open windows into Turkish life, brought together by her amazing dreamlike realism.


According to my grandmother, the snake would come to the end of its story and turn to her and say, 'What we have heard is true, but only those who hear can know', and then, as fast as an arrow- or lighting, or rain, or a river - he would slip across the stone courtyard and into the garden. According to my grandmother, the snake was under a curse. There was nothing more painful than to feel something that no one else could feel, to know something that no one else could know.

  • Merciless Gods by Christos Tsiolkas
  • Little Black Book of Stories by A S Byatt
  • The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

Books with similar mood

South of Centre

Andrea Carter


Max Porter

Tail of the Blue Bird

Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Waiting for the Night-Rowers

Roger Moulson

The Visible World

Mark Slouka

The Man With the Compound Eyes

Wu Ming-Yi

Plain Truth

Jodi Picoult

A Dangerous Vine

Barbara Ewing


Susanna Clarke

Distant Light

Antonio Moresco

Piggy Monk Square

Grace Jolliffe

A Lone Walk

Gul Y Davis

The Testament of Yves Gundron

Emily Barton

Answering Back

Carol Ann Duffy


Will Eaves

Chewing Gum

Mansour Bushnaf

The Tiger's Wife

Tea Obreht

I Am Forbidden

Anouk Markovits

The Girl with Glass Feet

Ali Shaw

Black Juice

Margo Lanagan

Death and the Penguin

Andrey Kurkov


Luke Kennard

Heads We Win

Amy Gdala

Hotel World

Ali Smith

A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven

Karl O Knausgaard


W G Sebald

Amaryllis Night and Day

Russell Hoban

Thimio's House

John Kefala Kerr

The Opposite House

Helen Oyeyemi

The Lace Reader

Brunonia Barry

The Lost Leader

Mick Imlah

Double Fault

Lionel Shriver

The Last Children of Tokyo

Yoko Tawada

A Book of Strange New Things

Michel Faber

Trigger Warning

Neil Gaiman


T M Wolf

The Gate of Air

James Buchan

Esther's Inheritance

Sandor Marai

The Ghost Bride

Yangsze Choo


Kathleen Jamie

Of Mutability

Jo Shapcott

The Invention of Dr Cake

Andrew Motion

The Clay Machine Gun

Victor Pelevin

The Saturday Night Ghost Club

Craig Davidson

Raising Sparks

Ariel Khan

The Age of Magic

Ben Okri

Sound Archive

Nerys Williams


Nicholas Royle

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Susanna Clarke