Monday, December 13, 2010

Orhan Pamuk

Cover of "My Name Is Red"Cover of My Name Is RedThought I'd share a couple of contemporary Turkish authors with this week, one next. Their books are available in English and you can find them at Borders, Amazon, etc.

You've probably heard of Orhan Pamuk because he's a Nobel Laureate - the first Turkish citizen to claim that prize, in fact. He's currently a humanities professor at Columbia University.

Pamuk has also been in the news quite a bit for his statements about Kurds and Armenians. Some Turkish people felt his actions were controversial and criminal proceedings ensued, turning the whole thing into a freedom of speech fiasco. There were even book burnings in Turkey. "Insulting Turkishness" is kind of a big deal. I try to stay on the right side of that dangerous invisible line.  

His books are a lesson in the conflict between Eastern and Western values. I've only read one so far: Snow, which was all about head scarves and army corruption in remote Kars. The heavy read is a long, drawn-out, unfulfilled romance which reminded me of Russian authors. Tolstoy is the first that comes to mind. I guess if you like Faulkner-type novels, this is a good one for you. I prefer more mythical, escapist reads myself. Even so, My Name is Red, is still on my TBR. The Ottoman setting sounds like something I'm going to appreciate.

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Jules said...

I barely have time right now to read blogs let alone a book :(

Thanks for the warning though, big and unfulfilled, think I'll pass :)

Carolyn V. said...

I am always so fascinated with the different ideas and cultures that there are in this world (you've probably heard that a lot from me). What people worry about, how they react. It's just fascinating.

I don't know if this would be a book I would pick up, but it's interesting to hear about it. =)

Old Kitty said...

"My name is Red" was given to me as a birthday pressie back in July!! LOL! It is on my TBR pile!!! Yay!! And I think I remember signing a petition in his support for a national paper!!

Take care

Golden Eagle said...

I've never read any Turkish literature before--and I didn't know he had won the Nobel Prize!

Christopher said...

Sounds like an interesting author to me, love a good controversy. I'll keep my eyes peeled for his book.

LTM said...

Sounds like a *pass* to me! :D But if you recommend Red, I might pick it up~

Sidenote, one of my HS friends was named Orhan. No joke~ ;p <3

Hart Johnson said...

Funny--you've given me opposite anchors and I'm not sure what to do with them..Tolstoy is a definite favorite and I HATE Falkner... I think it is that I like a long meandering plot, but not a long meandering sentence... I like the theme though, of east versus west--It would be good to at least give him a try!

Deniz Bevan said...

The first Pamuk I read was The White Castle, in English, and I loved it! Just the sort of historical novel I enjoy. So then I thought I'd try to read My Name Is Red in Turkish... Yea right! I kept running to my mtoher and reading her whole paragraphs asking, what the heck just happened? I have it in English now but haven't started it yet... I might read his autobiographical books about Istanbul first.


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