The Four Humors by Mina Seçkin

The Four Humors by Mina Seçkin
English | 2021 | General Fiction | 1.6 MB

This wry and visceral debut novel follows a young Turkish-American woman who, rather than grieving her father’s untimely death, seeks treatment for a stubborn headache and grows obsessed with a centuries-old theory of medicine.

Twenty-year-old Sibel is fascinated by the human body. She’s hoping to be a doctor and plans to spend her summer in Istanbul studying for the MCAT and visiting her father’s grave. Instead, she finds herself self-diagnosing her own possible chronic illness with the four humors theory of ancient medicine. Is an imbalance of blood, bile, choler, and phlegm the cause of her physical and emotional turmoil?

Also on Sibel’s mind: her blond American boyfriend who accompanies her to Turkey; her energetic but distraught younger sister; and her devoted grandmother, who, Sibel comes to learn, carries a harrowing secret.

Delving into her family’s history, the narrative weaves through periods of political unrest in Turkey, from military coups to the Gezi Park protests. Told with pathos and humor, Sibel’s search for strange and unusual cures is disrupted as she begins to see how she might heal herself through the care of others, including her own family and its long-fractured relationships.

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