➳ [Reading] ➶ Kara Kitap By Orhan Pamuk ➩ – Iphoneleaks.co.uk

summary Kara Kitap, series Kara Kitap, book Kara Kitap, pdf Kara Kitap, Kara Kitap e6f93e25b0 A New Translation And Afterword By Maureen FreelyGalip Is A Lawyer Living In Istanbul His Wife, The Detective Novel Loving Ruya, Has Disappeared Could She Have Left Him For Her Ex Husband Or Cel L, A Popular Newspaper Columnist But Cel L, Too, Seems To Have Vanished As Galip Investigates, He Finds Himself Assuming The Enviable Cel L S Identity, Wearing His Clothes, Answering His Phone Calls, Even Writing His Columns Galip Pursues Every Conceivable Clue, But The Nature Of The Mystery Keeps Changing, And When He Receives A Death Threat, He Begins To Fear The WorstWith Its Cascade Of Beguiling Stories About Istanbul, The Black Book Is A Brilliantly Unconventional Mystery, And A Provocative Meditation On Identity For Turkish Literary Readers It Is The Cherished Cult Novel In Which Orhan Pamuk Found His Original Voice, But It Has Largely Been Neglected By English Language Readers Now, In Maureen Freely S Beautiful New Translation, They, Too, May Encounter All Its Riches


10 thoughts on “Kara Kitap

  1. says:

    The big issue from Orhan Pamuk s , a Nobel Prize winning writer, novel is identitywho are we The setting Istanbul, Turkey, the largest city in the nation, straddling the bright blue waters of the narrow , and rather shallow , but still even today quite crucial Bosphorus Strait, on both the continents ofAsia and Europe This is the ultimate problem for its divided people, do we become westernized or remain with traditional, old customs They go see ancient Hollywood films, some 20 years old, at the movie theaters, no television then enad by the stars, copy what is shown, clothes, manners, language, everything, the values from the past are no Galip Bey, mid thirty, is an uninspired lawyer not happy in the occupation , in his native, fast growing town, married to the beauty Ruya, a woman of the same age, he has known since childhood Intelligent with a propensity for reading detective books, one after another, not interested in work, lately him too His famous older cousin by than twenty years Celal Bey, a newspaper writer with a column that all the city reads, in fact the whole nation and beyond the borders, he is the most read in the Middle East..No surprise that Galip is a big admirer of his relative s sophisticated writing, has many enemies, though, dabbles in dangerous politics , he is also Ruya s half brother Turmoil consumes the people s daily lives there, political violence and killings in the streets, many urge a military coup to cleanse the atmosphere, bring unity and calm back circa 1960 Mysteriously Ruya leaves him, later Celal cannot be found either, have they run off together Then begins the long search by the husband to discover where they are hiding A Heart of Darkness voyage on land , as he walks through ominously deserted streets , lights fade in sunless places, shadows fall on filthy , evil smelling slums observing apartments that are ready to collapse, citizens struggling to survive the ever expanding, choatic megalopolis , its rapidly changing environment, the poor begging and stealing, death lurks by, but nobody cares Galip has a feeling, a strange disturbing belief he is not alone , someone is following, an evil eye, yet the threat is dismissed must go on, what occurs good or bad will happen , the dispirited man has to know the truth He continues the seemingly fruitless odyssey..A strange trip into Turkish history and the crisis in that magnificent country, what is its destiny A book that both entertains and causes boredom to the reader, if a person wants to find the real Turkey, this is the book, but be patient, the story will delight and frustrate, the plot is not really important the philosophy is The author s love hate relationship with a city he was born in, is apparent.


  2. says:

    this is a rare example of a reread for me I don t reread books very often, not because I don t want to, blahblahblah My experience of reading this one was a good example of a certain kind of reader s disease The kind where even though you are trying to focus your attention on the story, the language, etc your eyes start to water and you kind of glaze over in your mind, turning pages and sort of dimly registering the story It s not reading ,per se, but it s not skimming either It s not bullshitting your way through the book it s that when you read a lot your brain or at least mine kind of gets blurry when the story or the language doesn t exactly burst out at you I think it also makes a difference when the writer s particular style doesn t mesh well with your own individual brain chemistry His way of seeing is somewhat at odds with yours It s not a philosophical difference so much as its aboutinstincts of perception, if you will The pacing of the story, the level of and type of detail, the way he describes a room or how much of it, the length and construction of sentences.all that kind of stuff I don t think it s pretentious or posuer ish to continue reading even if the writer s style means you re going to miss most of what s happening Sometimes you can uncover a jewel even in the midst of confusion or mistakes And besides, some people just have to finish a book once they start it I m one of them Also, consider the fact that many of the places where the modern reader reads are not particularly conducive to the intimate, erotic, spiritual practice of reading a book Consider, just for starters, the din of airports, buses, commuter rails, subways, bars, restaurants, living rooms with the tv on, so on and so forth There is usually a trickle of white noise coming in from at least one direction there has got to be some of the magic drained out of the experience I would venture that long, prolonged investments in concentration could be harder to come by now than ever More comprehension gets shaved off while, ironically, the abundance and availability of material is richer than ever And then there s the next hundred and seventy nine pages to go SoI kind of shortchanged the book a little bit I think it s excusable to sort of pass something like this off, as long as you did make a decent effort Hell, not everything can be easy to understand, right This is leisure reading, after all I was not told there would be any math on this exam I will not put my pencil down Anyway, apropos of nothing, I picked this up again recently and it s a whole new experience The scales have fallen from my eyes There are still some stumbling blocks here and there Pamuk is a writer for whom I have great respect, and I absolutely loved The New Life but all in all the tale is beginning to fill in for me and I m really participating in it in a way I hadn t before It s funny, since so much of this very provocative, philosophically savvy, eerily clean novel has to do with preoccupations of identity I deliberately phrased it like this because there s very strong self reflexive aspect to the proceedings The main character is trying to relocate his vanished wife through the medium of the collected newspaper columns of his cousin, her former husband, who has also vanished, who has written a great deal about the identity of Turkey in the post modern world, not to mention his own consciousness and psychic disorientation, and so obviously there s a deeply meta narrative project in place You can imagine how sticky and obfuscating this kind of thing gets when, for whatever reason, the co ordinates of your consciousness aren t really aligned with the text it s a delicate balancing act anyway, so when the author is stepping into some very seductive, Borgesian metaphysical landscapes Now I that, about three years later, I can dip back into it with pleasure and profit I am pleased to say that The Black Book, at maybe about 65% done at least, is a very, very worthwhile tome It has the narrative of a noir meditative, crisp, somewhat chilly and slightly spare It has the political significance of Pamuk s status as a player on the Turkish literary scene if you re actually reading this you should really acquaint yourself with his works and days and especially when you consider the story s being set in 1980, the significance of this is explained rather neatly in Maureen Freeley s translator s afterward a little too neatly, if you ask me And, philosophically, it is very beautifully investigated, well prosed, and that s difficult to do well Philosophy is an incredible thing Sometimes its relationship to literature can be a bit awkward and bumbling Sometimes it adds a moral and existential resonance to a story which is intriguing and enticing on its own merits Pamuk handles this beautifully There s quite a few quotable gems here Many of them go on at length, necessarily Here are a few of the shorter ones He felt happy, on the verge of a revelation the secret of life, the meaning of the world, shimmering just beyond his grasp but when he tried to put this secret into words, all he could see was the face of the woman who was sitting in the corner watching him He surveyed the dome, the columns, the great stone structures above his head, longing to be moved but feeling stuck There was the vaguest of premonitionsbut this great edifice was as impenetrable as stone itself It did not welcome a man in, nor did it transport him to a better place But if nothing signified nothing, than anything could signify anything For a moment he thought he saw the flash of blue light, and then he heard the flutter of what sounded like the wings of a pigeon, but then he returned to his old stagnant silence, waiting for the illumination that never came For what is reading but the animating of a writer s words on the silent film strip in our minds There s some phenomenal set pieces, too Paumk s Istanbul is there in its there ness but it still has a universal quality, albeit a somewhat dour, crystalline, noir ish ambienceIt got three stars for a muddled, uncomprehending first read which was decidedly my fault and now it s getting four stars for coming off the bench and working nicely


  3. says:

    A post modern masterpiece in the vein of the best of Calvino or Borges, The Black Book is the novel in which Pamuk was able to force his literary star and create a work of art luminosity blazed forth and heralded a new star of Turkish literature Kemal had poetry, but Pamuk has something even important originality.The dominant themes in the novel are ones which often recur in Pamuk s novels identity, Westernisation and Istanbul, combined with a sense of playfulness and erudition Let s start with Istanbul Few other novelists have imbued the cities in which the stories are set with such importance in The Black Book , Pamuk paints Istanbul is a dull, dolorous monochrome, a city of constant snowfalls, of darkness and deceit, a city in which a web of conspiracies and conflagrations This stands in stark contrast to the bright incandescence with which Istanbul is normally depicted, but is important it establishing the mental state of the narrator, Galip Galip labours through a series of identity crises throughout the novel he spends most his time searching for his cousin, the newspaper journalist Celal, who feels may or may not have run away with his wife, R ya Pamuk references Proust specifically Marcel s obsession with Albertine on several occasions throughout the novel and Galip s search for R ya, his fixation with her perceived unfaithfulness and the unreliable depiction of her character all parody Marcel s search for Albertine following her death Another source of parody for Pamuk is the genre of detective fiction as the narrator states Galip had once told R ya that the only detective book he d ever want to read would be the one in which not even the author knew the murderer s identity Instead of decorating the story with clues and red herrings, the author would be forced to come to grips with his characters and his subject, and his characters would have a chance to become people in a book instead of just figments of their author s imagination Clues constantly serve as red herrings and inconsequential events or people suddenly become vitally important or not important at all instead the conventions of detective fiction the femme fatale and the cuckolded husband are turned on their heads the reader is unsure as to whether it is Galip searching for Celal or Celal searching for Galip, or how much of the novel is a figment of Galip s imagination or, to the point, how aware Galip is that he is just a figment of another s imagination, the author, who makes a late appearance or does he in the novel Is it the realisation of this which is at the core of Galip s struggle with his identity, or is it the gradual coalescene of Galip with Celal, until Galip begins writing Celal s stories and have conversations with malevolent mad men as Celal This uncertainty creates a sense of unreliability throughout the narration, as reality and fantasy merge to become virtually indistinguishable, in fact, given that the whole thing is a work of fiction, is what is real even relevant Pamuk further explores post modern concepts and techniques via Celal s newspaper articles which are interspersed throughout the novel At times it feels like the articles are long drawn at clues which will allow Galip to find Celal, however this may be a product of Galip s warped mindset and self obsession the articles themselves are the high points of the novel Celal rails against plagiarism, yet many of his articles are plagiarised from other novels for example, the pastiche of the Grand Inquisitor chapter from The Brothers Karamazov He is critical of imperialism, yet his articles perpetuate negative Western attitudes to the orient like the narrator Galip, Celal s articles are unreliable and duplicitous , yet are off set with a lyrical verve which draws the reader in, as they are gradually ensconced within the wonderful web of deceit and uncertainty which Pamuk weaves across the novel.


  4. says:

    I hope that Orhan Pamuk really enjoyed writing The Black Book, because I definitely did not enjoy reading it It is ostensibly the story of Celal, a columnist for a major Turkish daily who has disappeared or ran away, told through the eyes of the his friend and brother in law, Galip When Galip s pulp detective novel loving wife Celal s sister disappears as well, Galip turns into something of a detective himself, and the plot thickens And then, it slows to a tedious crawl.Whatever the story is here, it becomes something of an afterthought, taking a back seat to page after page of postmodern quasi philosophical musings on the nature of identity The plot pulls its head up out of the ground from time to time, introducing a few new twists and intrigues which, were they part of a tighter, focused novel may actually have been interesting, perhaps even thrilling But as it was they just ended up getting lost in the larger symphony of postmodern tangents whose meaning or purpose in this novel I almost certainly did not fully understand Man, this was a tough slog of a read.With all that being said, though, now that some time has elapsed since I read it last year, I can look back with the sugar coated spectacles of hindsight and identify some things about it that I eventually came to appreciate, such as the portraits of some of the quirky minor characters, and the overall structure of the novel, which is punctuated with the columns of the missing columnist, columns which are eventually ghost written by Galip, who takes up the pen when he realizes Celal will not return I also enjoyed some of the descriptive atmospheric passages about Istanbul, where Pamuk sort of poetically depicts the various neighborhoods his protagnist travels through, from the seedy and worn to the posh and comfortable There are also some pretty memorable passages from Celal s columns, including a little fantasia about what lies at the bottom of the Bosporus, a passage that ended up being one of the most memorable of the entire novel.I read this book during a trip to Turkey yes, I was one of those people , which included a few days in Istanbul, and something about being in the place where a novel is set does add something meaningful to the experience, even if it is an excruciating one at the time.


  5. says:

    A man s search for his wife and her journalist ex husband becomes intertwined with the latter s bizarre articles columns turning this book into a bewildering hall of mirrors of Dostoevsky styled feverish monologues, storytelling sessions like a Dinesen or Potocki tale, and Borgesian labyrinths of history and literature and fake detective tale Each chapter is its own unit a short story, mock essay, or monologue This book is exasperating, annoying, thrilling, and provocative at different points and the landscape of Pamuk s Istanbul is world of threatening phone calls, gangsters, wise journalists, eschatological hints, melancholy, shadowy doubles and disguises, an underground chamber of mannequins, crows, and flickering identity a gothic and alluring epic labyrinth or inferno.


  6. says:

    Available from KOBOBOOKSThe book, in a nutshell, traces the protagonist s search for his wife and, subsequently, also his cousin There is indeed a vague plot resembling a detective novel here, but that is hardly the point of the novel The real point of the novel is Turkey, as Galip s search for Ruya takes him around Istanbul meeting various people who he thinks might help him find her, and via this process the novel morphs into an examination of identity, both individual and national On one level, Pamuk reflects on the Turkish dilemma of being caught between Asia and Europe, of how to be both modern secular without becoming purely a poor copy of the West On another level, Pamuk reflects on what it means to be oneself, delving into Ottoman culture and sufi beliefs to mull on this question You will note that I have avoided stating that Pamuk answers these questions or proffers any solutions to them The novel often appears to approach an answer only for readers to find that answer taken away from them In her Afterword to this edition of the novel, its translator, Maureen Freely, states, The poet Murat Nemet Nejat has described Turkish as a language that can evoke a thought unfolding This seems to describe Pamuk s approach here as well the novel is, or becomes, an exploration of Galip s and Pamuk s evolution of thought towards an ever receding conclusion, brought only to an artificial end by the end of the book The other aspect of the novel that so enchanted and struck me was its references to Turkish history and literature Pamuk discusses this in an interview with the Paris Review I went with my wife to the United States in 1985, and there I first encountered the prominence and the immense richness of American culture As a Turk coming from the Middle East, trying to establish himself as an author, I felt intimidated So I regressed, went back to my roots I realized that my generation had to invent a modern national literature I had to begin by making a strong distinction between the religious and literary connotations of Islamic literature, so that I could easily appropriate its wealth of games, gimmicks, and parables Turkey had a sophisticated tradition of highly refined ornamental literature There are lots of allegories that repeat themselves in the various oral storytelling traditions of China, India, Persia I decided to use them and set them in contemporary Istanbul So I set all these rewritten stories in Istanbul, added a detective plot, and out came The Black Book But at its source was the full strength of American culture It is this state of interstitiality, of in betweeness that I find most compelling and interesting about this work the drawing from the richness of the well of Turkish culture without being slavish to tradition nor betraying it all the while trying to interpret it in a way that speaks authentically to the contemporary state so embedded in a culture technology that is inherently Anglo Saxon American.


  7. says:

    To what degree can we be ourselves To be or not to be oneself , considers Pamuk, is life s ultimate question A roller coaster which is alike in many aspects with a detective novel, this story is suffused with possible answers to the question above and explorations of how, only by telling stories, a man can really be himself Through hypotheses developed in stories with a prince embarking on quests of finding his real self in order to be able to guide his people if he would come next in line to the throne, with an executioner who feels remorse after beheading a certain individual who expresses regret for his life differently than others, with an eye which can follow you anywhere you go, with stories about Rumi and Shams of Tabriz and inherently about Sufis, with stories about people who can read letters on faces, Pamuk immerses the reader in a metaphysical ride, touching with great charm aspects like history, mysticism, differences between East and West, family relations and love.Although I discovered touches of brilliancy in this book and ideas that kept me pondering, I constantly had the feeling that I was missing out on things, that some meanings were eluding me because of the translation or maybe because of the fact that I am not so familiar with Turkish culture Some things didn t add up, some loose ends kept me wondering if I should give this story 5 stars or 4 or 3 There were paragraphs which really resonated with me and I felt elated while reading them, paragraphs which made me think that I would definitely rate this book 5 stars and paragraphs which annoyed me because I could not see their sense However, maybe this is Pamuk s way of introducing his readers to a Turkish atmosphere throughout the book a blend of historical and cultural influences, either different because of the spatial component influences from Western cultures which people adopt from movies, Western writers, singers and tourists or because of the temporal component every aspect from Turkey s history meant adopting a different influence, depending on the countries they conquered or they only came in contact with Istanbul, for instance, is a blend of civilizations and its names over time can say many things about the idea I pointed above Byzantium, Constantinople, Asitane The Doorstep , New Rome, Stamboul etc The fragment below is, in my opinion, expressing in a condensed and elegant fashion what I wanted to point above When he stepped onto Ataturk Bridge, Galip had resolved to look only at faces Watching each face brighten at his gaze, he could almost see question marks bubbling from their heads the way they did in the Turkish versions of Spanish and Italian photo novels but they vanished in the air without leaving a trace Gazing across the bridge at the skyline, he thought he saw each and every one of their faces shimmering behind its dull gray veil, but this too was an illusion It was perhaps possible to look into the faces of his fellow citizens and see in them the city s long history its misfortunes, its lost magnificence, its melancholy and pain but these were not carefully arranged clues pointing to a secret world they came from a shared defeat, a shared history, a shared shame As they churned across the gray blue waters of the Golden Horn, they left a trail of ugly brown bubbles in their wake I loved the story about Alladdin and his shop and I loved the fragment about Galip s love for Ruya the two of them, although they were married, living together in the same outer reality, had minds and imaginations which inhabited different realms I loved the ideas in this book, but didn t quite like the story I actually found it a bit absurd, although I am sure that the idea Pamuk wanted to express prevailed and the story was only used as a means of revealing what he wanted I understood that Galip assumed Celal s identity and that he embarked on a spiritual quest which helped him find himself rather than his missing wife or his uncle The ending seemed however far fetched and only able to dignify a soap opera Putting aside the spiritual journey, at a factual level the pursuit Galip embarks upon throughout the novel is destined to find Celal, rather than Ruya The way she ends up being found and her supposed actions during her absence are rather secondary next to Celal s, while Pamuk wants us to believe his hero is looking for her, rather than Celal A flawed novel I would say, but an enticing one Plus, I cannot help but wonder, weren t these flaws there on purpose used by Pamuk for a certain effect The fragment below would seem to say so If every letter in every face had a hidden meaning and if each signified a concept, it followed that every word composed of those letters must also carry a second hidden meaning The same could be said of sentences and paragraphs in short all written text carried second, hidden meanings But if one bore in mind that these meanings could be expressed in other sentences or other words , one could, through interpretation, glean a third meaning from the second, and a fourth from the third, ad infinitum so there were, in fact, an infinite numbers of possible interpretations to any given text It was like an unending maze of city streets, with each street leading to another maps resembling human faces So a reader who set out to solve the mystery in his own way, following his own logic, was no different from a traveler who finds the mystery of a city slowly unfurling before him as he wanders through streets on that map The he discovers, the the mystery spreads the the mystery spreads, the is revealed and the clearly he sees the mystery in the streets he himself has chosen, the roads he s walked down and the alleys he s walked up for the mystery resides in his own journey, his own life


  8. says:

    I get it Not all authors write in the same style, the same proficiency, the same genre, nor the same level of whatever readers want in each of their books That is why there are novels that are successful than others within their work Perhaps, therefore, there should be no real sympathy for me here, but Orhan Pamuk s The Museum of Innocence was by far one of my all time favorites, a definite 5 Star Sadly, I have read the if guys works, increasingly desperately trying to find one that is even clear to such greatness the closest has been a pathetic 3.5 Stars Le sigh Although I hate to admit it, finding another work from Pamuk very similar in personal preference to The Museum of Innocence will be difficult, since I have noticed that it is the least politically centered It is there if choose, asking with his Turkish background, cultural notes, etceteras, that has become guys trademark, but starkly less so More so, it focuses far on psychological and physiological ideas, romance and true love Which I obviously have a weakness for Accepting but not quite accepting this, we shall move on to The Black Book Honestly, my least favorite from Oamuk so far Almost completely revolving around politics, which were honestly confusing for me to fully comprehend The main characters Galip, the narrator Ruya, his wife whom disappears early on in the story, never outweighing the reader with her voice Celal, her brother, a famous political newspaper columnist, who secretly suffers from an undefined memory disorder Other notable characters include thorities trying to find Celal, as well as a devoted reader, stalkerishly knowledgeable regarding the intimate miniature and nuances in Celal s life possibly violent and trying to locate Celal whom had disappeared asking with Ruya This this man is actually speaking to Galip, whom becomes an extremely unreliable narrator as he puts himself into Celal s shoes Literally He soon send to even forget which is the real him, what is real and what is a dream or his imagination Along with the reader The focus of this novel ends up being identity For example, everything we do is essentially an imitation of someone else, something else whether a fictional character, sometime we know, someone we do not Who is, of course, imitating someone else or something else And so on A barber asked Celal a couple questions that changed his life and therefore play an important part in the story Do you have trouble being yourself Is there a way a man can be only himself The answer at least according to The Black Book is No The chapters in this book alternate between Celal s columns and the story presently taking place with Galip searching for him and his wife Ruya I far preferred the columns, as they were beautifully and lyrically written, straightforward with none of the mystical confusion found in the other chapters, with far interesting content My favorite was the one titled, Alaaddin s Shop , which tells the shopkeeper s story his older than time store that sells everything from rare toys to old comics, chocolate bars to pink backgammon dice, pencil sharpeners shaped like Dutch Windwills to archived newspapers, sexology annuals to prayer books Being the only fully stocked marketplace in his town for so many years, Alaaddin certainly has much to tell My second favorite column was that which told the story of a young Prince Enfendi He was so enad with the idea of staying true to oneself that he dedicated his entire life to it Alas, this is a very difficult thing to do Impossible if you were to take it literally The Prince hope to live without any influence from anyone He threw away all the books he had so as to not be influenced by greater minds He no longer meet with anyone he had an affinity for, to avoid influence He hired servants to extinguish all unique scents within his vicinity for fear of eliciting nostalgic memories He began to see woman whom he specifically disliked, so he could not be influenced by his desire to fulfill her desires Unfortunately, he found himself caring than ever for these women, as they were his only link to the outside world Prince Enfendi was left with nothing but his devoted scribe, who transcribed his dying words.


  9. says:

    Remember those Magic Eye pictures that were popular back in the 90 s If you stared at what looked like random dots or patterns in just the right way, forcing your eyes apart from their usual angled focus, a hidden 3 D image would suddenly pop into view Some of them were pretty cool If you were like me, though, it took a while to get it right I remember moving the picture back and forth, commanding my eyes not to cross as it got closer to my nose and trying to hold that same angle as I moved it back out Finally, it worked The hidden fish or whatever it was came into focus, like it was floating off the page.I kept thinking The Black Book might amount to the same thing If I could just train my view a certain way, the hidden meaning would emerge I tried all the harder because the protagonist, Galip, seemed to be doing the same thing Only he was looking into a mirror You see, Galip was suffering an identity crisis It was easy to understand why His wife, Ruya, disappeared one day with only a short note to explain herself At the same time her half brother, Celal, a celebrated columnist in Istanbul, went missing as well, presumably with her Celal was Galip s older cousin, a man he greatly admired Galip s own life as a lawyer was colorless compared to Celal s As a writer, Celal was acclaimed by his many readers for his allegories and mystical tales about Turkey s cultural identity But why would the two of them go off without him How does the view Galip has of himself change in light of this He spends most of the rest of the book trying to find them, but also trying to find his true self If anything, though, he begins to see himself through Celal s lenses.The book is educational It s also structured in an interesting way, alternating chapters that are first an omniscient narrator s account centering on Galip and then columns written by Celal Then there was a convergence of sorts near the end that I won t go into for fear of spoiling things.Even a poor student of history like me can appreciate the parallels between personal and national identity that played out in this book It was set in the early 80 s and was, in a way, a debate about East vs West, old ways vs.new, and maybe Islam vs Hollywood Istanbul, I m guessing, was as conflicted a place as any when it came to these opposites They were still sorting out Ataturk s march towards modernity.Unfortunately, my search for the magic focus got to be tedious The book was dense with descriptions that might appeal to anyone who has visited Istanbul, but probably won t to those who haven t The main points seemed belabored, too I m not saying it should have been Twitterized, but a good editor might have found 100 pages to cut Plus, once I did see the picture if I truly did , its impact underwhelmed me Assuming I understood the premise, to know or become your true self requires isolation from any outside influences But then what could you draw on to form your eclectic self Do closed societies with closed minds achieve a compensating inner purity As my dysphemistic way of phrasing the question already suggests, I m doubtful.


  10. says:

    This book should have been better It had a very good beginning but then really fell off The fault is most likely both Pamuk s and Freely s the translator The way Freely described the translation process in the Afterword which should have been the Foreword, unlike most Forewords, which give away the entire plot and should be Afterwords , it seems as if Turkish is incredibly hard to translate into English She also relates how beautiful Pamuk s prose is That beauty does not come through Instead, his writing seems overly verbose and his ideas, pseudo significant I wonder how much I would have enjoyed the novel if the translation were better unfortunately, this is apparently a new translation, improving on a translation from the 90 s You get the feeling that Pamuk is a graphomaniac he seems much interested in writing itself than in writing about anything This is a common disease amongst contemporary writers all smart, no heart It doesn t help that the genre is deconstructionist detective fiction from the 1980 s It s not as bad as City of Ass by Mr I m P Auster, but the ending is almost as unsatisfying It s also completely ironic that a novel about the life affirming nature of story telling can lack all of those pieces that make a story worth reading For instance, I never cared about any of the characters They never seemed to act like human beings their motivations and reactions just seemed false, the product of a writer who writes characters just so they can talk about writing and the theme of identity It s almost doubly offensive because Pamuk puts the characters in situations which are highly emotional in other words, he s letting the situations alone force you, unnaturally, to feel things, rather than allowing characters that we care about to go through these dramatic situations and organically create emotions within the reader I think I would have been forgiving of the book if it hadn t been so long The middle is so boring and repetitive that I most likely would not have finished the novel if I hadn t been stuck in a room with nothing to do except read the one book I had brought with me I literally believe you could skip the first 3 4 of part two and actually lose nothing well, the chapter entitled The Executioner and the Weeping Face is worth reading I also think that Maureen Freely could have cut every one of Pamuk s sentences in half The sentences just start avalanching you with useless detail I don t think I ve ever read so much useless detail Pynchon, for example, might throw a lot of strange details at you, but they re not useless they re funny Pamuk, or at least Pamuk in English, has no sense of humor whatsoever.However, it s not as if the book is totally without merit Again, I liked the beginning of the book a lot It had a great set up and you really thought he was going to take you somewhere special the car ran out of gas The conceit of chapters that alternated between the plot that the characters are living and the columns that the characters within the plot are reading was novel and refreshing the stories within these columns were some of the best parts of the book And if you ve been to Istanbul, it s fun to see all the different parts of the city pop up in various places Yet this wasn t enough.To sum up this book is not the reason he won the Nobel Prize Or at least, I hope not


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