Author: Orhan Pamuk | Fiction/Historical Drama
My rating: ★★★★☆
[★-lost me ★★-average ★★★-worth a read ★★★★-excellent ★★★★★-amazing]
I’ve entered the world of Orhan Pamuk and there is no turning back. I’ve already asked various random people to lend me whichever Orhan Pamuk books they have.
The title of this book is catching, makes you wonder ‘Who is Red?’ Also all the chapters in the book have names like ‘I am called Black’ and ‘I, Shekure’. Now, if a book begins with a chapter named ‘I am a corpse’, it is guaranteed to be a compelling read. This way, Orhan Pamuk has given all sides of the story, even from the point of view of the murderer and victim of this murder thriller, and has even given inanimate things like a gold coin and death a voice. My Name is Red is written in a beautiful language with a poetic style of writing, with masterpieces like:
‘The earthly smell of mud mingled with my memories. Someone had broken an earthenware pitcher beside my mother’s grave. For whatever reason, gazing at the broken pieces, I began to cry. Was I crying for the dead or because I was, strangely, still only at the beginning of my life after all these years? Or was it because I’d come to the end of my life’s journey?’
‘One of them who was blind smiled as he watched the falling snow.’
‘When you love a city and have explored it frequently on foot, your body, not to mention your soul, gets to know the streets so well after a number of years that in a fit of melancholy, perhaps stirred by a light snow falling ever so sorrowfully, you’ll discover your legs carrying you of their own accord toward one of your favorite promontories.‘
and it also has some funny parts like ‘The cold,which was enough to make a fox shit copper..’. Also, here and there, are subtle references extolling the virtues of coffee. This book makes me want to learn Turkish and read the original version.
MNIR takes you to Turkey of the 1500s, back when the Ottomans ruled. It captures not just Istanbul’s past and present contradictions, but also its timeless beauty. Pamuk has cleverly hidden a murder mystery under art and romance. The murder pursues several false leads and keeps you guessing throughout about the murderer’s identity. The main protagonist is Black Effendi, who has returned to Istanbul after 12 years. MNIR takes you on a journey through a culture about which previously, little was written and, like Alan Massie at The Scotsman says ‘Reading the novel is like being in a magically exotic dream.’ The translator(Erdağ Göknar) does full justice to Orhan Pamuk, who does full justice to the Turkish language.
Everyone please but me Orhan Pamuk. I’m in love.