A vital part of modern Turkish literature, Hikmet (1902-1963) was a poet whose lyrics, as sung by leftist performers such as Pete Seeger, had international resonance, and whose repeated imprisonments drew protests from the likes of Pablo Picasso and Jean-Paul Sartre. This novel in verse, written during one long prison sentence in the 1940s, reflects the emotional and physical torments the poet experienced. Hikmet's writing is poetry under siege, and the blunt heroism of his characters makes them more Marxist ideals than believable human beings. The poetic element may not survive well in translation, but the content and context make this a lastingly fascinating work. As translator Konuk writes, the book describes 'people from different social backgrounds and classes, ranging from the dispossessed and the unemployed to senators and industrialists... from factory workers and peasants to doctors and professors' wives.' This is recommended for all modern literature collections, as evidence of the indomitable human will toward free speech in spite of great suffering.