Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
Wow! That's such an amazing story!
Is there anything else which prompted Kurt Seyt & Shura? Something that inspired you?
An instant bestseller since its début in 1992, Nermin Bezmen’s Kurt Seyt & Shura is a classic of contemporary Turkish literature, a sweeping romantic drama set as the splendour of imperial Russia is obliterated in the wake of the Great War.
Bezmen tells the story of two star-crossed lovers fleeing the wave of devastation wreaked by the Bolshevik Revolution, and does so with great sensitivity: one half of this couple who sought refuge in the capital of the dying Ottoman Empire was her grandfather.
Translated into twelve languages, Bezmen’s Kurt Seyt & Shura inspired a sumptuous TV series that continues to enchant millions of viewers across the world. With the publication of this novel in English, fans can finally read the true story of this great love affair that triumphed over so much adversity, yet failed to overcome human fallibility.
In 2012, the prestigious Turkish production company Ay Yapim offered to turn the novel into a television series. The producers pulled together an A Team of cast, crew, and director, who in turn created the acclaimed TV series “Kurt Seyit ve Sura”, with Nermin Bezmen’s guidance as a consultant and Ece Yorenc as script writer. The leading roles were played by the talented (and ahem, may we add also gorgeous) duo Kivanc Tatlitug and Farah Zeynep Abdullah. After its initial viewing in Turkey, the series was distributed in many countries, including the United States, where it is currently shown on Netflix. The production reached millions of viewers across the world and stole the hearts of many, creating new excitement and awe around the life story of the two lovers, about 100 years after their first kiss.
The books in the saga include:
- Kurt Seyt & Shura
- Kurt Seyt & Murka
- Mengene Gocmenleri
- Shura Paris Years 1924-1927
The son of a wealthy Crimean nobleman is a dashing First Lieutenant in the Imperial Life Guard. Injured on the Carpathian Front and later sought by the Bolsheviks, he makes a daring escape across the Black Sea.
Too proud to accept payment for the boatful of arms he hands over to the Nationalists, he faces years of struggle to make a new life in the Turkish Republic rising from the embers of the dying Ottoman Empire. All he has is his dignity and love.
The innocent beauty enchanted by Tchaikovsky’s music and Moscow’s glittering lights falls in love with Seyit at the age of sixteen. A potential victim in the sights of the Bolsheviks due to her family’s wealth and social standing, and determined to follow her heart, she accompanies her Seyt on the perilous flight over the Black Sea.
Their love is the only solace to the crushing homesickness for a land and family they will never see again, two lovers amongst hundreds of thousands of White Russian émigrés trying to eke out a living in occupied Istanbul.
A Night in Petrograd, 1916
Snow fell in fat, lazy flakes, an immaculate white blanket settling over the sleeping city. The carriage turning left at Alexander Nevsky Square laboriously carved a wide arc through the snow that had piled up all night, rounded a corner, and drew up to the pavement outside a three-story house.
A few snowflakes fluttered at the windowsills, stuck to the panes and frozen solid. The coachman gazed upward as instructed; a net curtain parted, and a shaft of light beamed out. A male figure wiped the glass, waved, and withdrew.
Heavy curtains kept the world outside the windows, where it belonged. In the semidarkness, the room spoke in scents: perfume revealed a woman’s presence, and vodka testified to earlier indulgences, both mingling with the lavender emanating from the bed linens.
He turned toward the bed for a look. Amplified by the snow, the moonlight cast a bright-white light on the sleeping woman’s bare back. He recalled what the darkness sought to conceal: the deep auburn of her hair, now cascading over the pillow in waves; the groove of her spine dipping delightfully from the nape all the way to her waist and vanishing under the covers; and the right shoulder glowing in the playful light, a flawless expanse of alabaster.
Seemingly oblivious to the cold, he leaned his bare back against the window; then, grinning at the memory, he moved to the round table by the fireplace. The fruit platter, carafe, and glasses still stood where they had been left: half eaten and half drunk from. She was an impatient one, that Katya. Or was it Lydia? Whatever. The auburn beauty had excelled at entertaining him that night.
He picked up one of the half-full crystal glasses, downed it in one go, and shook his head as the alcohol stung his throat. He lit the pink opaline lamp in front of the mirror, and the soft light of gas spread into the room. Digging into the jumble of garments on the sofa, he gathered his own clothing and collected his underwear. He was moving toward the bathroom when the woman spoke sleepily.
“Why so early, darling?”
He strode toward her, still carrying his clothes. She stirred, rounded shoulders and full breasts braving the cold, her face now more distinct. Sweeping her hair up with one arm, she reached out with the other. He stared with barely disguised lust; the charming armpit thus exposed looked as arousing as the ample breasts bathed in the pink light. The sleepy gaze was not necessarily reserved for this time of night: she had proven her expertise in seduction with those large dark eyes framed by long eyelashes, eyes that spoke of the bedroom, of the pleasures of the flesh. Full lips pouting in anticipation, she waited, eyes shut, arm still outstretched. Smiling at her unrestrained behavior and ravenous appetite, he sat down on the edge of the bed. Her provocative scent mingled with the bedclothes, fragrant from passionate hours.
He yielded to the invitation of the arms wrapped around his neck. Languid eyes smoldered into his as she tugged away the bedclothes separating them to free her warm, buxom figure and snuggle up to him. She stroked his back and the muscles in his arms, pressed his head against her breasts, and presented her nipples to his lips. Effectively captured by her skillful limbs—surprising on such a petite woman—he enjoyed a lingering kiss before drawing back.
“It’s time I got ready. You might like to get up too; I’ll have you dropped off.”
She pouted with a half shrug. “Couldn’t we stay just a little longer?”
“I need to set off.”
“When will you be back? Will you call upon me again?” She stirred as if to get up during this barrage, hoping to tempt him to change his mind.
All she got in response, however, was a jaunty smile and a pinch on the cheek before he walked toward the bathroom. He mused as he washed; he couldn’t remember her name—just another one-night stand. Someone he had met at a wild party where the drink had flowed like water…and they had left together. She was no petty commoner, if the splendor of her dress and jewelry was anything to go by. In all likelihood, she’d arrived on someone else’s arm—probably the man who’d paid for that splendor.
As he shaved, his thoughts strayed to the journey ahead. Best to get a move on, given he had arranged to meet the others at the station in an hour.
By the time he’d returned to the bedroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, she was already dressed. He patted his cheeks and neck with lotion from a bottle on the console. “Wouldn’t you like to take a bath?”
“I never take a bath on my own,” came the flirtatious reply.
An irrepressible grin lit up his face as he combed his hair, thinking, Her husband—or lover, whoever it was—certainly has his work cut out. He dressed, ignoring his audience, who sat on the edge of the bed to admire the view.
Muscular and fit, the young man in his early twenties carried himself with an aristocratic posture and demeanor. His moustache and floppy fringe were chestnut. A cleft chin seemed to complete his striking looks: flashing dark-blue eyes, a straight nose, and a perpetually sardonic mouth.
The redhead patted her curls back into place and sighed. Her questions were destined to remain unasked as the young man, now in full uniform and boots, strode between wardrobe and dresser, clearly lost in his own thoughts. He picked up several items from drawers, and some books went into a suitcase. She watched, astonished that he appeared to have forgotten the many wonderful hours they had shared in bed. Her wiles had failed to hook him. She leaned back with another sigh.
Taking a ring from a box by the mirror, he placed it on his finger and then put a watch in his pocket. She remembered openly admiring them last night—she adored jewelry after all, and he’d said the sapphire-and-diamond ring was a family heirloom. The enameled gold watch adorned with rubies was a gift from Tsar Nicholas II, he’d told her.
Soon they were ready to leave. A muffled clatter rose from the street. The second carriage had arrived. He picked up his coat and hat. “All right, let’s go,” he said. “I’ll have you taken home.”
He extinguished the lamp and walked to the door. She followed, surprised and not a little disconcerted at the absence of one last kiss or a plea for another meeting, as if there had been nothing between them.
The coachmen leaped down and ran over the snow. The young man turned to his guest, took her hand, and said, “Aktem will drop you off. Fare thee well, my lovely.” Her name wasn’t even on the tip of his tongue.
“Will we meet again?” she tried one last time.
Happier now, she presented her cheek for a kiss, unbothered by the coachmen’s presence. Finally, gathering her courage, and with a bashful smile, she asked the one question that had plagued her all this time. “Tell me your name again?”
His merry laughter rang in the snowy street’s early morning silence. So the night had not been that memorable for either of them! Except for the ending, that is. He bowed, as if they had just met, and enunciated deliberately: “First Lieutenant Seyit Memedovich Eminof.”
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Nermin Bezmen is an accomplished artist, art teacher, yoga instructor and
broadcaster whose meticulous research into family history led to the
publication of Kurt Seyt & Shura in 1992.
This fictionalized account of her grandfather’s life became an instant
bestseller, and is now considered to be a masterpiece of contemporary Turkish
literature to the extent that it has reached textbook status in several
secondary schools and universities.
Exquisite detail distinguishes her writing as she proves that truth is
indeed stranger than fiction, and that our ancestors call out to us all from
the pages of history.
Her powerful character analysis and storytelling skills invite the readers
to explore their own dreams, sorrows, anxieties and even fleeting fancies.
Bezmen has to date published fifteen novels, two of which are biographical,
and one is a fantasy; a children’s novel, a collection of forty short stories
and a book of poems. She has two children and three grandchildren and lives
with her husband, actor Tolga Savacı in New Jersey and Istanbul.
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2Ao8jjr