Mehmet Rauf’s ‘Great Romance Novel’ The Last Star

Ata Hackimel

Some novels overwhelm their authors. Although such novels, which are acclaimed by all, bring great success and fame to their writers and gain an important place in their literary world, there is a curse of this victory: the shadow of the novel’s higher success falls on everyone. The author will write later that work. Therefore, writing a very successful novel is in some cases an obstacle to attract attention for later work. Mehmet Rauf, the author of ‘September’, known as the ‘first psychological novel’ in our literature, is one of the unfortunate writers carrying this curse. Mehmet Rouf, one of the two most important novelists of Edebiyat-ı Cedide and the author of many notable works, has been forgotten for years and the author is remembered only for his ‘Eylül’ novel. However, one of the writers who played a major role in the development of the novel genre in our country, Rauf has a lot more powerful work besides ‘September’. The author’s work, The Last Star, first published in 1927 and subtitled The Great Love Novel, is another of his works, at least as powerful as Illul’s. The ‘Last Star’, which the author himself describes as “a work more powerful and more personal than September”, is a hidden treasure that cannot be forgotten with its strong observation and the courage to search deeply. Of human psychology. This powerful novel, recently republished by Eletisim Publishing, is an extremely valuable text that awaits the attention of interested literary readers.

Mehmet Rauf has created a multi-level narrative in ‘The Last Star’. In the text, which apparently places a love triangle at the center of the plot, the author penetrates deep into the minds of the characters in the novel and makes important assumptions about human psychology. The author, who does the psychological analysis of his characters with great skill, expresses very clearly the dilemmas and internal questions of the people in the face of the dilemmas they face. In the background of the novel, which took place in the first year of the republic, the social change that took place as a result of the revolution is discussed. The author underlines the transformation of social life in this background, including new social life, ball, dance and drinking party. According to the narrator, who claims that “attitudes, words, rhetoric, everything is always fake and fake”, “our soup life today” is full of pretenses: “Everything around, everyone and every action has a lie, an imitation. […] There is no one who seems to be sincere, who is he. ” Not only is this a bad imitation of the West, but it is also dangerous because of the disconnection between this and the identity here.

The Last Star – The Great Novel of Love, Mehmet Rouf, page 531, Elektisim Publishing, 2021.

However, Mehmet Rauf’s main interest in the novel is the fear of losing his old character Fahri Semal’s young and beautiful lover Peran. Fahri Semal, the owner of the Sehrah newspaper, is a bourgeois who lives a very comfortable life for the huge fortune he inherited from his father. The biggest fear of Fahri Semal, who is in love with Peran, the wife of lawyer Shefik Bay, who works for her newspaper, is the possibility of this young woman staying away from her old age and being with other men. Fahri Semal, who sees her old age as a great tragedy, is very worried about the possibility of cheating on her with very young and handsome men. The real tragedy of Fahri Semal is the inevitable loss of masculinity, which he is slowly losing one day. Behind Fahri Semal’s fear of losing his masculine power, there are great traces of the personal life of the novel’s writer Mehmet Rauf. Mehmet Rauf was unable to hold a pencil due to partial paralysis, and when he began writing the novel he had a concern that he would not be able to finish his work. Mehmet Rauf, who wrote the rest of the novel instructing his wife after his stroke, equated his lost writing ability with the energy he was losing. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that the author’s uncomfortable mood, which became dependent on his wife as he grew older, was also reflected in Fahri Semal.

Mehmet Rauf, who equates old age with disrespect, abandonment and, most importantly, inadequacy, portrays Fahri Semal as a lost soul who is dragged behind her young lover to calm her stormy mood. A love triangle is formed when the first love of Peran’s youth, Fuat Ilhami, who is presumed dead but is alive in the middle of the novel, is also included in the plot. This trio relationship will become the initial refuge of Fahri Semal’s separation from her young boyfriend, which will inevitably be experienced due to old age. Mehmet Rauf, who thinks that old age is always lost in the face of youth, seems to have written ‘The Last Star’ to acknowledge this fact. Mehmet Rauf’s desire to cope with his old age and lack of power is always evident when Fahri Semal finally gives up the love of her young boyfriend Peran and promotes herself to the position of a father and paves the way for marriage. With Fuat Ilhami between the two. This sense of sincerity, which draws strength from the writer’s courage to face his own flaws, is one of the elements that gives ‘The Last Star’ this flavor, which is a sad narrative.

One of the most notable novels of the last years of Mehmet Rouf’s writing, The Last Star is an invaluable text that has the potential to deepen the validity of social observations and the deepest secrets of man. The personal issues that the author has dealt with in this novel with utmost sincerity have made this novel, which is still up-to-date, interesting to today’s readers. This delicate work of art, aesthetics, aging, life and love is a fascinating novel that will immerse anyone who reads it.

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