The human memory can either be a blessing or a curse; a blessing because it allows you to hold onto moments in time that you cherish and a curse because it won't let you forget things you'd rather not remember. No matter how hard you try, once something has been observed and recorded by your brain it's stored there permanently unless you have that piece of your brain killed - and even that isn't foolproof because nobody's quite sure which parts of the brain do what. Memories thought isolated to one part of the mind can migrate of their own volition and show up again somewhere else completely unexpected and unwanted.
History is a recording of past events that sometimes has nothing to do with what actually happened, but unlike memories, history has a way of surviving unchallenged. Somehow because it is written down, or recorded officially, it is considered much more accurate than anything the human brain is capable of remembering. The fact that histories are sometimes written by people with vested interests in how they read and years after the events recounted took place doesn't seem to change anyone's opinion of their veracity. Only in the face of irrefutable evidence can history be re-written, and even then there will always be resistance.
All of us have a history; we were all born, we all were children, adolescents (a time a lot of would choose to forget if we could, I'm sure), young adults, and so on down the line until we die. As we age we formulate our own histories based on the memories we have of the days we've lived. Yet like any history there are points in time that are beyond the reach of our own memories, and we have to rely on what other people claim has happened.
The Bastard Of Istanbul by Elif Shafak, first published in Turkish and now available in English through Penguin Canada's Viking imprint, is about both personal memories, history and how they both can deny the past. Unfortunately for Elif Shafak, Turkey is in such denial of its own past that she faced three years imprisonment for the crime of besmirching Turkey's good name for something one of her characters said in the book. The best thing you can say about the Turkish government is that they probably not only helped boost sales of the book, but also nicely proved the point it makes about history and memory being precarious and easily falsified.