"My heroes are Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, Oğuz Atay, and Yusuf Atılgan. I have become a novelist by following their footsteps . . . I love Yusuf Atılgan; he manages to remain local although he benefits from Faulkner's works and the Western traditions."—Orhan Pamuk
"Motherland Hotel is a startling masterpiece, a perfect existential nightmare, the portrait of a soul lost on the threshold of an ever-postponed Eden."—Alberto Manguel
"Yusuf Atilgan gives us a wonderful, timeless novel about obsession, with an anti-hero who is both victim and perpetrator, living out a life 'neither dead nor alive' in a sleepy Aegean city. Motherland Hotel is an absolute gem of Turkish literature."—Esmahan Aykol, author of Divorce Turkish Style
"Motherland Hotel presents a portrait of a solitary life sheltered in a corner of Turkey in the 1970s, but when a guest fails to return as promised, the novel becomes a powerful story of loneliness and obsession. Yusuf Atilgan, like Patrick Modiano, demonstrates how the everyday can reflect larger passions and catastrophes. Beautifully written and translated, Motherland Hotel can finally find the wider audience in the west that it deserves."—Susan Daitch, author of The Lost Civilization of Suolucidir
Zeberjet, the last surviving member of a once prosperous Ottoman family, is the owner of the Motherland Hotel, a run-down establishment near the railroad station. A lonely, middle-aged introvert, his simple life is structured by daily administrative tasks and regular, routine sex with the hotel's maid. One day, a beautiful woman from the capital comes to spend the night, promising to return "next week," and suddenly Zeberjet's insular, mechanical existence is dramatically and irrevocably changed. The mysterious woman's presence has tantalized him, and he begins to live his days in fevered anticipation of her return. But the week passes, and then another, and as his fantasies become more and more obsessive, Zeberjet gradually loses his grip on reality.
Motherland Hotel was hailed as the novel of the year in Turkey when it was published in 1973, astonishing critics with its experimental style, its intense psychological depth and its audacious description of sexual obsession. Zeberjet was compared to such memorable characters as Quentin Compson in Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and Meursault in Albert Camus' The Stranger. While author Yusuf Atılgan had already achieved considerable literary fame, Motherland Hotel cemented his reputation as one of Turkey's premier modernists.