The Anthropologists (Hardcover)

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July 2024 Indie Next List

The Anthropologists is a slim, impactful novella that cuts to the heart of human experience. Aysegül Savas conveys the complex vagaries and bone-deep loneliness of adulthood. This is a stunning and unique novel.”
— Jo Swenson, Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, NH


"Like Walter Benjamin, Aysegül Savas uncovers trapdoors to bewilderment everywhere in everyday life; like Henry James, she sees marriage as a mystery, unsoundably deep. The Anthropologists is mesmerizing; I felt I read it in a single breath." -Garth Greenwell

“Savas is an author who simply, and astoundingly, knows.” -Bryan Washington

Asya and Manu are looking at apartments, envisioning their future in a foreign city. What should their life here look like? What rituals will structure their days? Whom can they consider family?

As the young couple dreams about the possibilities of each new listing, Asya, a documentarian, gathers footage from the neighborhood like an anthropologist observing local customs. “Forget about daily life,” chides her grandmother on the phone. “We named you for a whole continent and you're filming a park.”

Back in their home countries parents age, grandparents get sick, nieces and nephews grow up-all just slightly out of reach. But Asya and Manu's new world is growing, too, they hope. As they open the horizons of their lives, what and whom will they hold onto, and what will they need to release?

Unfolding over a series of apartment viewings, late-night conversations, last rounds of drinks and lazy breakfasts, The Anthropologists is a soulful examination of homebuilding and modern love, written with Aysegül Savas' distinctive elegance, warmth, and humor

About the Author

Aysegül Savas is the author of the acclaimed novels Walking on the Ceiling and White on White. Her work has been translated into six languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, and elsewhere. She lives in Paris.

Praise For…

“In the exceptional latest from Savas (White on White), an idealistic young couple flounders in their half-hearted effort to put down roots in an unnamed city far from their respective homelands . . . Savas captures the singularity of the couple's logic in lucid prose, and the real estate search gives shape to the spare and subtle narrative. It's a masterpiece.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Savas' compact novel conveys warmth and human detail in exploring the universal question confronting all (named and unnamed) people: how to live or 'be' in the world . . . Friends and neighbors experience their life crises during the brief interval illuminated beautifully by Savas, creating further scenarios for her questioning narrator to investigate, as if documenting the social practices of an unfamiliar civilization. There are no explosions or battle scenes in this subtle novel, just an appreciation of the value and marvels of living a life that is your own. Perfectly perceptive.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“The peculiar habits and folkways of the creative class are on study in Aysegül Savas's latest, The Anthropologists . . . Asya and Manu are on their own, left to figure things out from day to day, and, in that figuring-out process, life takes its form. Passing time, the book suggests, is all that there is.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Quirkily charming . . . Savas delicately balances humor with pathos, supplying the droll details that make these ordinary lives shimmer as Asya and Manu gradually but inexorably change over the course of time.” —Booklist

“Savas' prose is an X-ray-an acute portrait of the tender frequencies that make a life.” —Raven Leilani, author of LUSTER

The Anthropologists is about love, youth, and that most profound and elusive of subjects-happiness. Full of delicacy, wisdom and wit, this is another gorgeous work from one of my favorite writers.” —Katie Kitamura, author of INTIMACIES

“Aysegül Savas' perceptive new novel, The Anthropologists, follows a nomadic couple as they struggle to find an apartment in an unnamed foreign city . . . The idealistic lovers find themselves chafing against society's idea of adulthood and look to kindred spirits . . . in hopes of figuring out how to live a good life.” —, “12 New Books You Should Read in July”

“The language between the couple and their rituals adds up to a study on marriage and how one should live . . . Everything about The Anthropologists is enchanting.” —The Albany Times-Union, “Bibliophiles: Make Novellas Your Must-Reads of the Summer"

“I am eagerly awaiting Aysegül Savas' The Anthropologists. Born in Istanbul, Savas has lived in England, Denmark and the U.S. also and now resides in France; in this novel she takes up themes of cultural migration through focus on a young couple seeking an apartment in a foreign city. I'm intrigued to discover how Savas gifts her characters with an anthropological lens of exploration.” —NPR, "Summer Books Our Critics Can't Wait to Read"

The Anthropologists is yet another gorgeous, gorgeous book from Aysegül Savas: she is an author who simply, and astoundingly, knows. Savas knows hope. Savas knows despair. Savas knows joy, and malaise, and laughter, and curiosity. There are worlds inside of Savas' prose, and The Anthropologists is both a bright light and a map for how to be. A massively heartening achievement.” —Bryan Washington, author of LOT, MEMORIAL, and FAMILY MEAL

“Like Walter Benjamin, Aysegül Savas uncovers trapdoors to bewilderment everywhere in everyday life; like Henry James, she sees marriage as a mystery, unsoundably deep. The Anthropologists is mesmerizing; I felt I read it in a single breath.” —Garth Greenwell, author of CLEANNESS

“[Savas] writes with both sensuality and coolness as if determined to find a rational explanation for the irrationality of existence.” —Sarah Lyall, The New York Times on WALKING ON THE CEILING

“Savas' restrained style is a statement in itself, minimalist on the surface but more textured than what first meets the eye.” —Michele Filgate, Los Angeles Times on WHITE ON WHITE

“Savas's writing is unadorned and yet perfectly attuned to the poetry and strangeness of everyday life.” —Sanaë Lemoine, Electric Literature on WHITE ON WHITE

“Bright, perspicacious, and elegant . . . White on White stands as both a well-defined and well-executed work in its own right and a prime example of the evolutionary process of the novel as an art form.” —Chicago Review of Books on WHITE ON WHITE

“A haunting, irresistible novel. I loved this book for its depth and perception, for its beauty and eerie rhythms, but most of all for its wonderfully dream-like spell. It's breathtaking.” —Brandon Taylor on WHITE ON WHITE

“The entire world of White on White is selectively outlined. What of it exists exists in crisp, clean prose . . . the narrator . . . resists providing the compassion and reassurance Agnes seems to so desperately seek. The results of this thwarted intimacy move the story inexorably toward a finale that, for a book so invested in visual art, feels surprisingly most like an act of literary revenge.” —Larissa Pham, New York Times Book Review on WHITE ON WHITE

“'In the middle ages, human skin was seen as a blanket stretched to cover a secret, inner life,' writes Aysegül Savas. Reading White on White for me is like an outer skin which you open layer by layer as you read; gentle, mysterious and profound.” —Marina Abramovic on WHITE ON WHITE

“Aysegül Savas' White on White is marvelous, as elegant as an opaque sheet of ice that belies the swift and turbulent waters beneath.” —Lauren Groff on WHITE ON WHITE

“A superb novel by an exceptionally elegant, intelligent, and original writer.” —Sigrid Nunez on WHITE ON WHITE

“I was riveted by it. The delicate restraint of the language just adds to its power.” —Celia Paul on WHITE ON WHITE

“The story at the heart of Aysegül Savas's White on White is-like the title- subtly camouflaged. Savas's characters watch each other as they avoid themselves, in a slow, acute and obliterating double portrait.” —Leanne Shapton on WHITE ON WHITE

“I read it in a day and slid into its world with total delight and admiration. It's a deeply humane, quietly devastating, mesmerisingly beautiful masterpiece.” —Olivia Sudjic on WHITE ON WHITE

“Savas' luxuriantly meditative new novel, White on White, again zeroes in on these elemental interpersonal themes . . . The narrator's research into the historic ties between touch and narrative is almost unwittingly fueled by Agnes' compulsion to bare herself metaphorically . . . Savas' lyrically spare gem shimmer[s] with richly complex insights on communication, family, love and friendship.” —Cory Oldweiler, Minneapolis Star Tribune on WHITE ON WHITE

“Savas elegantly explores loneliness in her second novel.” —Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post on WHITE ON WHITE

“A true portrait of artists young and old, White is narrated by a graduate student who rents an apartment from an older professor but is surprised to learn that his wife, a painter, will be joining her for much of her time abroad. Intrigue mixed with delight turns into something closer to horror as the painter's life-along with her marital drama and occasional madness-begins to overcome them both.” —Entertainment Weekly on WHITE ON WHITE

“An elegantly stark character study . . . a haunting cautionary tale.” —Christian Science Monitor on WHITE ON WHITE

“By the end of White on White, Savas's message is clear: it is impossible to fully understand another person. . . White on White goes deep into human experience, beautiful and fraught, delivering a renewed perception of what it means to be a person among other people.” —Ploughshares on WHITE ON WHITE

“Despite the thriller-ish underpinning of the novel and the propulsive unfolding of the relationship at the book's heart, Savas' graceful and intellectual prose is the star of the show here. It makes air-light what might otherwise be a novel ponderous with weighty questions: What is the nature of art? Does it reveal or conceal? What is the nature of human connection? . . . . Like a prism, this novel brilliantly illuminates the human spectrum of connection and longing.” —Kirkus, starred review on WHITE ON WHITE

“The prose, minimal and elegant, casts a well-rounded vision of existence, making clear that the small, mundane, day-to-day details are a large part of what makes a life . . . This is the world of The Anthropologists: slow and quiet, existing finely within the details” —The Brooklyn Rail

“For such a slender book, The Anthropologists explores a vast array of themes-otherhood, loneliness, transitions and love-in prose that's easy to slip into . . . An excellent book on how to 'make do' as you simultaneously feel alienated by an overarching culture while creating the spaces within it where you can belong.”” —NewCity Lit

Product Details
ISBN: 9781639733064
ISBN-10: 163973306X
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: July 9th, 2024
Pages: 192
Language: English