Mount Qaf tells the
story of a Turkish journalist, Emel, who is trying to track down Zahide, an old
Pakistani friend who she met while studying in the US. In the course of her
investigations, she finds out that Zahide has been arrested as part of the CIA
rendition program and has in all likelihood been given a new identity in a
clandestine program. As the novel reaches its traumatic, bloody climax, Emel’s
identity begins to disintegrate and we can no longer be sure that the new
identity that was given to Zahide was not in fact… Emel.
The title of the
book refers to the emerald mountain that is supposed to ring the earth,
separating the realm of humans from the realm of the spirits. The central
conceit of the novel is examining what would happen if this barrier no longer
existed: when the dark forces of omnipotent security forces are unleashed upon
the world, when the dark forces of the unconscious are unleashed upon the self.