Search - List of Books by Irfan Orga
Irfan Orga (1908—1970) was a Turkish fighter pilot, staff officer, and author, writing in English. He published books on many areas of Turkish life, cookery, and history, as well as a biography of Atatürk, and his own autobiography (Portrait of a Turkish Family, London, New York 1950, reprinted 1988). He also wrote two children’s books.
Total Books: 14
Orga was born on 31 October 1908 into a wealthy Ottoman Turkish family in Istanbul. Soon World War I broke and his life was changed forever. Orga witnessed the atrocities and hardships of war. His novels display the common everyday life of an Ottoman Turkish family. He starts with the beginning of World War I, and then continues through the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, and finally, the end of World War I and the modern republic in Turkey.
Orga opens his autobiography with imagery of his childhood. He tells of his wealthy bourgeois family in Istanbul, Turkey, in the early 1900s. His mother is a young Turkish woman, aged seventeen. His father, aged twenty one, is running his own business. He describes his grandmother as an eccentric socialite.
Orga tells his stories with multiple layers of complexity. He quickly makes clear his changing environment, with the death of his grandfather, the main provider of two generations of his family and their servants. His father, being a worldly man, understands that war is imminent. He proposes that his family sell their family home in Istanbul, and move to another less expensive home, outside the city. However, his mother is reluctant. Orga captures the fear that a man can be suddenly in charge of a large group of people who depend on him for their survival.
Orga was well-traveled, and was lucky enough to have been able to write about his experiences. "The Caravan Moves On" is a story about the Yoruk nomads of the Taurus mountains in southeastern Turkey.
In 1942 while he was on a three-year posting in the UK from the Turkish air force he met a young married Norman-Irish woman, Margaret Veronyca.
Living with a foreign woman was a crime in Turkey at the time, and Orga was stripped of his rank, forced out of the air force and, eventually, had to leave Turkey for the UK in 1947 (he was convicted in absentia in 1949).
After Veronyca’s divorce had been finalised in 1948, they married. While his wife began working her way up the hierarchy of publishing, Orga pursued several menial jobs. He also began writing and publishing books. Portrait of a Turkish family received many positive reviews from critics, such as Arthur Anderson and Peter Quenelle of the Daily Mail.
Orga’s son sums up his father by saying: “My father was an intellectual person, and a good man. He faced adversity, many times in his life, but he persevered to come out a better person” (Ates Orga (son of Irfan)).