In many ways, Tales from Behind the Window by Edanur Kuntman is an extremely difficult read. A graphic novel that follows the story of the author’s grandmother, an Anatolian woman whose life was filled with many hardships as a result of the male dominance within her culture. The most egregious of which was the forced marriage at the hands of her own brother’s betrayal. As the story is inspired by a series of personal interviews, it jumps around to various impactful moments of the woman’s life.
A beautifully portrayed collection of important stories from the life of a young woman forced through a number of struggles, Tales from Behind the Window seeks to comment on the horrors of an unequal society. For me, it was incredibly devastating to see Süreyya and her friends find themselves in situations where they were treated like property and sold into forced marriages at the behest of their male family members.
I see this very much as a sort of biography for the author’s grandmother, as much of one as could be written with the limited information that she gave. And stories like this are so immensely important. I cannot quite fully imagine what it must have been like to go through what Süreyya lived, but I am glad that her story was told. In so many ways, stories such as this one have been swept under the rug for disturbing lengths of time. To have them brought to light is essential if progress is to be made.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.