Under the Shadow

‘A marvelous resource by a wonderful writer and tireless champion of literature’ —Elif Batuman

‘I finished reading Under the Shadow a while ago, but haven’t stopped thinking about it. It’s such an incisive, passionate, moving book, the best thing I’ve read in quite some time. For whatever it’s worth I’m reasonably well informed about world events but Under the Shadow increased my knowledge of Turkey, from its politics to its people, by approximately ten fold. We need books like it in order to get a fuller picture, certainly fuller than the news can provide, of life and crisis, of how life and crisis co-exist, in places where we do not live ourselves.’ —Michael Cunningham

‘Necessary reading on Turkey’ Basharat Peer

‘Kaya Genç converses across borders, while forging his own distinct voice and perspective and challenging dominant narratives.’  —Maureen Freely

One of the best ten books to understand Turkey, according to Penguin Random House’s Signature Reads magazine

Amazon best-seller in Protests & Reforms Books section 


April 26, 2017 – Village Voice, Bilge Ebiri

April 14, 2017 – Mint, Vedica Kant

April 5, 2017 – The London School of Economics Review of Books, Nicos Kristofis

March 13, 2017 – Muftah, Claire Sadar

December 30, 2016 – Paste Magazine, David Zarley

December 21, 2016 – The Times Literary Supplement, William J. Armstrong

December 11, 2016 – The Los Angeles Review of Books, Greg Cullison

November 10, 2016 – The National, David Lapeska

November 10, 2016 – The Economist

October 10, 2016 – Publishers Weekly

Under the Shadow on Amazon

Turkey stands at the crossroads of the Middle East–caught between the West and ISIS, Syria and Russia, and governed by an increasingly forceful leader. Acclaimed writer Kaya Genc has been covering his country for the past decade. In Under the Shadow he meets activists from both sides of Turkey’s political divide: Gezi park protestors who fought tear gas and batons to transform their country’s future, and supporters of Erdogan’s conservative vision who are no less passionate in their activism. He talks to artists and authors to ask whether the New Turkey is a good place to for them to live and work. He interviews censored journalists and conservative writers both angered by what has been going on in their country.

He meets Turkey’s Wall Street types who take to the streets despite the enormity of what they can lose as well as the young Islamic entrepreneurs who drive Turkey’s economy.

While talking to Turkey’s angry young people Genc weaves in historical stories, visions and mythologies, showing how Turkey’s progressives and conservatives take their ideological roots from two political movements born in the Ottoman Empire: the Young Turks and the Young Ottomans, two groups of intellectuals who were united in their determination to make their country more democratic.  

He shows a divided society coming to terms with the 21st Century, and in doing so, gets to the heart of the compelling conflicts between history and modernity in the Middle East.