“It is indeed a somewhat odd sensation to find yourself in a world populated solely by Uygurs whose innermost thoughts are described in a distinctive Mandarin with a Xinjiang feel that occasionally approaches stream-of-consciousness prose,” Humes said in an e-mail interview from Antalya, Turkey, where he is studying Turkish.
The story is about Sidik, an upright but arrogant intellectual who dies of mysterious causes at 75. As his friend, the narrator, queries Sidik’s foes in his search for a possible culprit, the author takes readers ever deeper into “the intestines inside the intestines” of Uygur society.
“I found Sidik a compelling character,” Humes says. “While I didn’t share the narrator’s obsession with getting to the bottom of his death, I truly wanted to read the tale through to the end because Sidik’s mania for calling a spade a spade, in the most public manner that results in massive losses of face, is recounted with great relish, imagination and detail.”