Car 1

1 the driver
Mr Tahsin Cilekbileckli

Outward appearance

Like Antonio Banderas in Interview with the Vampire, down to the long black hair. Neatly pressed London Underground uniform, except for the jacket, which is slung over the back of his chair. Unshaven, baggy-eyed. His Hush Puppy shoes are worn along one edge.

Inside information

A qualified Turkish political scientist living in Britain with a British wife. He walks splay footedly because his feet were beaten while he was in prison. His name means Perfection With Steel Wrists. Turkish surnames are new this century, added under the rule of Ataturk -- Father Turk. Such names sound beautiful to them.

What he is doing or thinking

The train pulls out, Tahsin sighs with despair and exhaustion. Last night he argued with his two best friends about Islamic fundamentalism. Tunc teaches at the School of Oriental and African Studies and is from an old Ottoman family. "There are only a million modern Turks, but we have all the power," Tunc said, heavy lidded with superiority. Tahsin's other friend Umut is a failed actor, drinking himself to death. "There would be no more wine," Umut complained. "Umut" means Hope. Tahsin lost his temper with both of them.

Tahsin is from Marash, a town famous only for its rubbery ice cream. His mother and father are illiterate and faithful. "My modern son," sighs his father on the phone with pride when told Tahsin is writing a book on a computer. After all the other isms, Islam at least feels native.

His jacket is being crushed. Sleepily, Tahsin hangs it on an available peg -- the Dead Man's Handle.

Next passenger
Car 1 map
Journey Planner