Book Review: Conception by Özgür Uyanik, or the unraveling of a sociopath

In his brilliantly written debut, Özgür Uyanik introduces us to this unnamed struggling artist, trying to make it in the high-value conceptual art market. He’s a lost soul: uprooted from his native Turkey at a young age and transplanted into London, survivor of his twin brother and his parents terrible divorce (and mutual hatred) and unable or unwilling to deal with layers of trauma. Torn between a supporting and loving (though alcoholic and snobbish) mom and a disappointment father who would have liked his son to follow a more gender-conforming path. He’s bisexual and an artist, not what his wealthy father expected of his sole heir. Did I mention he’s a sociopath?

Uyanik, with a background in cinema and certain life events similar to our protagonist, brilliance is in writing such a hilarious satire of artists, high class and his native homeland. His protagonist is a horrible human being on a crazy quest, and yet he is not unlikable; one even gets to feel sympathy for his pain and struggle, his self-absorbness and out-of-this-world ego coupled with self-hate and trauma makes him a really raw and entertaining narrator. But without the reader noticing, his evil is slowly snowballing out of control. It is an absolute masterpiece I can’t recommend enough.

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