The Decameron is frequently referenced in Burhan Sönmez’s novel “Istanbul Istanbul.” Like in Boccacio’s great work, the characters tell stories to pass the time. Unlike the Decameron, that time is spent in an underground jail cell in Istanbul, where prisoners are held between sessions of extreme torture. Each of the 10 chapters is narrated by one of the inmates, trying to distract themselves from pain and the terror of coming abuse. The exact era in which the book is set is left ambiguous, but it is some point within the last few decades.

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