From the very beginning of Ashes, the narrator questions our sense of reality. A well-crafted lie can seem to be the truth, and at times, reality might appear to be like a dream. This idea is carried throughout Ashes, where often we are left to wonder if the scenes unfolding before our eyes are real or just imagination. Gokce’s life completely changes on her tenth marriage anniversary. Kenan, the owner of Urkan Publishing, invited all his close friends to celebrate the important landmark in his life. He proudly spoke about Gokce and his trust in her to always find the best works worth publishing. She was the first person to read through the manuscripts, and her intuition had always benefited Kenan. On the day of their anniversary, a hand-bound manuscript caught Gokce’s attention. The book was titled “Ashes,” and from the little Gokce read, she was extremely intrigued.
Who was M?
“Ashes” was written from a first-person point of view, and the romantic interest was referred to as ‘M.’ The entire idea of a love so maddening piqued Gokce’s interest. She was all the more excited to find out that a number of the locations mentioned existed in reality. Gokce got so carried away with the work of fiction that she decided to live the life of the author. Gokce had all the luxuries in the world, but she missed the passion that the writer seemed to have evoked in her. She decided to walk the streets of Balat, a neighborhood she had never been to before. She felt a sense of victory when she discovered the coffee shop mentioned in the manuscript. She wanted to feel the same sense of excitement that the author did when she was with M, and naturally, her desire to find the mysterious man kept her on her toes. The thought of climbing the stairs of the secret tower mentioned in the pages filled her with a sense of thrill, and the next day, she asked the man at the bakery about the tower. No one seemed to know about such a place, and that made Gokce wonder if the manuscript was entirely based on reality or if it was just a piece of fiction. When doubt clouded her mind, she saw a man enter the bakery with tattoos on his arms, just like the ones the author had described. To confirm her doubt, she followed the stranger and found him entering the same workshop she had visited the previous day.
Gokce entered the cluttered space, and just to find out if he really was M, she lied about wanting a mirror for her boutique. Gokce was disappointed when the man who perfectly matched the author’s description mentioned that his name was Ali. Hopeless, she walked away, and just then a courier man called out for Metin Ali Soykan, and she realized her intuitions had led her in the right path. It also proved that the manuscript was based on real people and real experiences. Gokce found it impossible to step back. After years of living in a loveless marriage, she wanted to experience the same passion and exhilaration that the author did. She was yet to reach the end of the manuscript, but she decided to pursue Metin Ali. It became obvious to the carpenter that Gokce was interested in him, but he could not figure out from where she had found out about his secret tower. He was hopeful about getting to know the entire truth from Gokce, but she spoke vaguely about it, and his questions remained unanswered. With Metin, Gokce felt more alive than ever before. She had something to look forward to in her life other than accompanying her husband to business meetings and dinners. She found some meaning in her existence, and unknowingly, she had become extremely attached to the stranger. Through the manuscript, she found out that Metin was a married man, and it turned out to be true after she overheard him speaking to his wife. He explained that it was an arranged marriage with no feelings involved, and he intended to separate from her. Gokce could sense danger, but by then, she was already too addicted to Metin’s presence.
What led to Gokce’s uneasiness?
The thrilling twist in Ashes was introduced when Gokce reached the very end of the manuscript. She discovered that the author predicted her death while writing the story of her life, and according to her, M would stab her to death, and in the blink of an eye, all that would be left of their fairytale romance was ashes. The ending of the manuscript suggested that Metin cheated on the author with an entity named ‘R.’ Gokce decided it was best not to publish the work, and she handed over the manuscript to Kenan. All this while her husband noticed his wife’s obsession with it and decided to find the author. Strangely, there seemed to be no information available about the author, and all Kenan could get hold of was the address from which the courier was sent. Kenan visited Balat to find out more about Gokce’s obsession, and at the farmer’s market, he saw his wife embracing a stranger.
For three days, Metin avoided Gokce, and she decided to confront him. When she saw him talk to other women at the market, she doubted his intent. Suddenly, she was consumed by a strange madness that would not let her watch Metin with anyone else. Metin warned Gokce not to get too attached to him because he believed he was a lost soul incapable of providing her with the guidance that she was searching for. Even though the ending of the manuscript suggested that Metin was trouble, Gokce found it impossible to believe, but at the same time, she struggled to trust him entirely.
How did Kenan react after finding out the truth?
After seeing Gokce and Metin together, Kenan decided to have a word with the author, and he arrived at the location from which the manuscript was sent. To his surprise, the woman who lived at the apartment had not sent the manuscript, and from their brief conversation, Kenan deduced that the woman’s sister used to stay there at times. He inquired about her sister and found out that her name was Duygu Akkaya, but she had unfortunately passed away. Duygu’s sister was a little shaken when Kenan mentioned the ending of the manuscript, and she quickly shut the door on Kenan’s face. He was at the parking lot when he noticed the sister step out of her apartment, and after following her, he found out that Reyhan was in contact with Metin and informed him about his little visit.
Later that night, Kenan informed Gokce that the author of the manuscript died last year and that someone was responsible for it. Gokce was left speechless—if it was all based on reality, was she in love with a murderer? The next morning, Gokce arrived at Reyhan’s apartment building and was surprised to find out that she had moved out all of a sudden. Gokce learned from the neighbor that Duygu’s death was considered suicide, though some believed it was a guy who killed her. Gokce had enough and more evidence to suggest that Metin was a murderer, but she did not have the courage to do anything about it. Kenan arrived at Metin’s workshop and ordered a bookshelf that he wanted to be delivered by that night, and Metin accepted the challenge. Metin did not know who Kenan was, and he agreed to deliver the item to his place. Kenan offered Metin to join them for dinner, and Metin assumed he was simply being courteous. It was only after seeing Gokce that Metin realized that there was an ulterior motive behind the invitation.
Was the entire story fictitious?
Metin tried to bail on dinner, but Kenan was quite persistent about it. Kenan soon revealed his true intentions, and he discussed the manuscript written by Duygu Akkaya. He talked about how it was Gokce who read “Ashes” first, and Metin realized that meeting her was no coincidence. Initially, Metin struggled to believe a word Kenan uttered, but the more he learned, the more he was convinced. Kenan framed Metin as the perpetrator, accusing him of seducing and then deceiving Duygu. He also added that there was trouble in paradise when Metin started an affair with Duygu’s sister, Reyhan (R). Metin pretended to be innocent, but Kenan strongly suggested that Metin was a brilliant manipulator and that he had destroyed the lives of both sisters. He toyed with their emotions, and he hoped to get away with it. Metin explained himself, stating that it was Duygu who was obsessed with him and assumed that he was having an affair with Reyhan. She was apparently mentally unstable and had attempted to commit suicide several times before. Metin tried to prove his innocence, but the ending of the manuscript, the neighbor, and the sudden disappearance of Reyhan all pointed toward something extremely suspicious. Gokce was completely speechless during the confrontation. She perhaps felt guilty about falling for a potential killer. She believed every word written in the manuscript, but the ending was too difficult for her to trust. Her dreams of escaping reality and living a fantasy suddenly started to fall apart. All she could say was that “it felt real.”
At the end of Ashes, Metin and Kenan got into a glass-shattering physical fight, and they eventually ended up jumping into the pool. Kenan asked Gokce to call the police, but she was completely lost in her thoughts. Both the men had disappointed her expectations in one way or another, and in either case, she would be the one on the losing end. While she tried to make sense of the myriad of emotions she experienced, Metin struck Kenan underwater with a sharp object that resulted in his death.
Ashes‘ ending revealed that what we were watching so far was a novel written by Taner Alpar. Kenan had published many of Taner’s works, and he requested that he shift to fiction, and the ending confirms that he did, but does that mean his book is entirely fictitious, or is it based on some truth? Taner was probably influenced by reality to some extent, and it’s possible that Gokce and Kenan separated after she had an extramarital affair. Taner might have read about a carpenter stabbing a woman to death in a newspaper, and he decided to merge the two stories to create his first work of fiction. Maybe after seeing the loneliness in Gokce’s eyes at the anniversary party, he got the idea of writing a novel from her perspective. If he did indeed write about Gokce’s affair, it was a bold choice, but perhaps it was a decision he took after Kenan suggested he write about other people. It was a direct hit at Kenan, and a successful one at that. According to Taner’s book, Gokce commits suicide after the tragic night, but we do not know if, in reality, she died out of heartache. Maybe the ending was symbolic, and it suggested the tragic impact that the relationship had on her. Of course, it is also plausible that the entire novel is completely fictitious and that the entire story is an exaggeration of bits and pieces taken from reality. The ending of the film leaves us with countless possibilities, and since there is a blurry distinction between reality and imagination in the world of Ashes, anything is possible.