Sultan Hamid Düşerken (As Sultan Hamid Falls -Oğlak Publications) is a “period novel”. Therefore, it can be easily examined under the genre of “historical novels”.
The names, presented in the novel, may not be in the history books. Or some of them are, some of them are changed or kept in the dark by the novelist. When the novel is read, it is clear that the names are not very important. The aim of Nahid Sırrı Örik is to reflect a historic era. Although a few names remain in the mind of the reader at the end of the novel, information and thoughts about the period of Sultan Hamid draw the actual attention because the novelist is focused on these ideas. So it doesn’t matter what the names of the characters are. The novelist drew the portrait of a typical politician of the Sultan Hamid period.
Nahid Sırrı Örik draws a pessimistic picture in this novel just as he does in his other novels. Almost all of the characters are pessimistic, or rather evil. There are almost no good characters in his novel. The novelist’s method and point of view are in harmony with the historical period he wants to treat. As a result, he tried to explain the most depressive period of the Ottoman Empire. It’s pointless to expect him to be optimistic. Nevertheless, the direction that Örik is trying to point is not the only one that needs to be considered and thought for the period. As a result, every person has good aspects as well. In every society, there are bad, envious, selfish people as well as good, altruistic, honest people. Örik shed light on the dark and desperate aspects of the period in Sultan Hamid Düşerken. This is not something every novelist can handle.
Another issue that Örik wants to tell is “women’s might”. Nimet is the only daughter of Mehmet Şahabettin Pasha. He shares everything with her daughter. Nimet is more brutal and cunning than Pasha. She runs the mansion. She also tries to protect Pasha. She loves her father but she is also very protective of his great legacy. So she leaves her fiance. For the same reason, she marries Şefik, a leader of the Committee of Union and Progress. She takes Pasha and Şefik under her influence. Sensuality has no place in her decisions. She only considers the authority and fortune of her father. The obsession of Pasha, who is past eighty, is already only authority and wealth.
The novel manages to treat the historical period in detail. It reflects the place of women in politics very well. The reader encounters exemplary scenes throughout the novel and thinks why and how a great empire was destroyed. At least the reader starts to develop his/her own ideas on these issues.
Örik also conducts psychological analyzes in Sultan Hamid Düşerken. Şefik’s love, Pasha’s ambition of authority, Nimet’s indulgence of power, İzzet Hanım’s inability, Hilmi Efendi’s helplessness transform into the expression of the invariable and uninhibited desires that lie in the depths of human psychology. Thus, Örik also manages to treat the psychological aspect that we will not encounter in the history books of the Second Constitutional era.
Sultan Hamid Düşerken can be read along with Mithat Cemal Kuntay’s Üç İstanbul (Three İstanbul) and Mizancı Murad’s Turfanda mı Yoksa Turfa mı? The details that only an artist can reveal and that cannot be found in the history, sociology or psychology books dealing with the same period are hidden in all three novels.
The Library of the Author
– Mehmet Kaplan, Büyük Türkiye Rüyası, Dergâh Publications
– Emile Ajar, Yalan-Roman, Agora Books
– İlker Nuri Öztürk, Ölüm Öncesi, Profil Books
– Yasemin Karahüseyin, Kör Nokta, İz Publications