By Perihan Magden
Translated by Kenneth Dakan
Last year a friend of mine attended a Book Conference where she was given advanced reader copies of certain books – Escape by Perihan Magden was one of them. Upon returning from the conference, she graciously gave me the copy she obtained. I, in return, thanked her for her generosity and began to read the unforgettable tale about a Mother and her daughter.
Escape is about a mother who has a secret she doesn’t want her daughter to discover. Her daughter’s name is Bambi, after the lovable deer in the story Bambi. Bambi learns, at a young age, to follow her mother’s directions only with obedience and to never ask questions about the past. Doing this can cause her mother to slip into a depression, which could mean trouble for both of them because Mother can’t function when depressed, and Mother needs to be alert at all times to protect Bambi from danger. Her Mother tells her often that they can only depend on each other; to never trust anyone outside their unit, and their unit only consists of them – Mother and daughter. Bambi has questions, and as she talks and listens to those around her, she slowly begins to put the pieces about their past together.
I found this story to be quite entertaining. I loved all the characters introduced in this story, both of the main characters, and also the supporting cast that flowed in and out of the story. Since Bambi and her Mother traveled from hotel to hotel and city to city, there was always something going on and new people to meet. Then there was the mystery slowly unwinding throughout their travels. Bits and pieces of their past gradually coming to light by a brief conversation overheard here and there, or a slight slip of the tongue by Mother as she reminisced about her own childhood.
I loved how Perihan Magden wrote each chapter in the first person of the character she wanted to highlight. Bambi’s view was most often used and gave the reader an inside peek into the life of Bambi and her Mother, but several chapters were not written through the eyes of Bambi. Instead the reader was given the opportunity to see Bambi and her mother through the eyes of a secondary character, and this new perspective provided a unique look into the lives of these two main characters. This was a fun way to learn more about them and to see them in a different light since some situations were told through Bambi’s eyes and then through the eyes of the person they encountered.
As I read from chapter to chapter, my mind played detective and I gradually was able to determine what the “danger” was that followed this mother/daughter pair. And since Escape isn’t written as a mystery, it’s pretty simple to guess what they are running from. Knowing this doesn’t make the book any less intriguing. Instead it brings the reader into the twosome emotionally, making you feel for both Bambi and Mother.
The author wrote Escape back in 2007, however, it was just recently translated into English (in 2012). Kenneth Dakan translated the story into English and I’m not sure how much was changed or lost in translation (if any), but I think he did a great job of keeping the story fun and fresh.
Let’s see – who would be interested in reading Escape? Those who enjoy a little mystery in their stories would like this book, but I wouldn’t suggest this to mystery readers since it’s not really written as a mystery and the puzzle aspect of the story isn’t hard to figure out. I can see fans of general fiction picking up this book and liking what they read because it’s a fun story about people. Suggested age group would be anyone over 16.
I have to say I like Perihan Magden’s Escape enough to check out the other two books she has written and which have been translated into English – Messenger Boy Murders and 2 Girls. Both books have interesting titles, and I’m going to have to research the storylines to see which one I want to read first. If you are a fan of Magden and have read either both or one of these books, please provide your suggestion and feedback below. I’d love to read what you thought about her them.