“The Emperor Tea Garden” is a vividly engaging fantasy romance told on several different levels that transcend time, place, gender, and even species. In this enchanted space, the boundaries between life and death, dream and reality, and here and there are all blurred. The eponymous tea garden is one whose customers are mostly deceased, mostly in love, and mostly fade away with the dawn. Eray captivatingly investigates the concepts of love, passion, and loyalty. For example, the narrator exchanges places with Night for a night, and a young man who has committed suicide in the name of love gets to leave his grave and be reunited with his paramour. Eray presents an underlying theme in which love can conquer even death itself.
Translator: Robert Finn is currently Associate Research Scholar at the Liechtenstein Institute and Lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs at Princeton University. He served as the first U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan in more than 20 years, from March 2002 until August 2003. His other diplomatic postings include Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, Turkey; Lahore, Pakistan; and Zagreb, Croatia. Ambassador Finn is the author of the book The Early Turkish Novel, which has been published in both English and Turkish. His poems and translations have appeared in the United States, Turkey, France, and Pakistan. The University of Texas Press published his translation of Nazli Eray’s novel Orpheus in 2006. Author: Nazli Eray is one of Turkey’s most popular novelists. Her first book, Ah Bayim Ah, was published in 1975. Her stories, plays, and novels have been translated into a number of languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Czech, Urdu, Hindi, Swedish, and Arabic. She won the Yunus Nadi Novel Prize in 2002 for her novel entitled The Man Who Wears Love (2001).