A half-Turkish, half-Dutch father whose grandfather, a concentration camp survivor, migrated to Istanbul; his younger daughter, Batya, who moved to Amsterdam to study acting and perhaps to grow up; the elder daughter, Ahuva, who seeks refuge in denial and detached emotions; Meryem-Gül, who fled to Turkey from the war in Syria… Stories spanning 1943 to 2018, Amsterdam to Auschwitz, and Aleppo to Istanbul, and paths crossing in a home in Teşvikiye… As family secrets are revealed, new sisterhoods are formed, and unexpected romances blossom, is it possible to see “them” as “us”?

In her second novel, Hayattayız Madem, Çiler İlhan guides the reader on a journey that is difficult but infused with humanity as her characters struggle to carve out a place for themselves both “at home” and “abroad” while simultaneously trying to reconstruct their sense of identity.