THE NAIVE AND SENTIMENTAL NOVELIST, a collection of the 2009 Norton Lectures delivered at Harvard by Orhan Pamuk, is best described as a celebration of â€śour journey in this world, the lives we spend in cities, streets, houses, rooms, and nature, [that] consists of nothing but a search for meaning which may or may not exist.â€ť More specifically, Pamuk takes his subject as the novel â€“ the art of the novel â€“ for â€śeach sentence of a good novel evokes in us a sense of the profound, essential knowledge of what it means to exist in the world, and the nature of that sense.â€ť While this may sound overwrought to some, to those of us who, like Pamuk, read voraciously, â€śeven ecstatically,â€ť thereâ€™s comfort in such passion; for us, this book is like having a drink with a long-missed friend.
I donâ€™t know why I resisted Orhan Pamuk all of these years, but one thingâ€™s for sure â€“ I now canâ€™t live without him. I remember the critical acclaim that followed Pamuk in 2005 after the release of Snow, but even with a Nobel Prize under his belt, I was hardly swayed. That may have had something to do with my obsessive relationship with Philip Roth during that time â€“ after all, Iâ€™m a loyal gal. And this Pamuk guy was not going to take me away from the legendary Zuckermans and Kepeshes of modern Jewish fiction.
This was all before a few months ago when I stumbled across a review of Pamukâ€™s literary masterpiece, The Museum of Innocence. The premise of the novel immediately had me fixated: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy spends the next eight years of his life…sitting in a living room with girl, her husband, and her parents, watching Turkish serials and the evening news, night after night. Now thatâ€™s what hooked me: the utter devotion and sacrifice that boy made just to see his beloved, day after day, for eight torturous years, with hardly any affirmation from his object of affection.
October 7, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· One Comment
Tags: 1970s, Arabic World, love, orhan pamuk Â· Posted in: Literary, Middle East, Nobel Prize for Literature, Reading Guide, Translated, Turkey, World Lit, y Award Winning Author
â€śIrresponsible, spoiled and bourgeois.â€ť One of the characters in THE MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE, Orhan Pamukâ€™s new novel, uses these labels to describe a segment of Istanbulâ€™s young adults. These same descriptors could specifically apply to 30-year-old Kemal, the novelâ€™s protagonist. Kemal, part of Istanbulâ€™s upper class, spends his time managing a portion of the family business. He has the privilege of an education in America and as the novel opens, is about to be engaged to Sibel, the daughter of another wealthy family in the city. Itâ€™s slated to be a marriage between equals.
December 14, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1970s, 1980s, Arabic World, Istanbul, Life Choices, Museum, orhan pamuk Â· Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Middle East, Nobel Prize for Literature, Translated, Turkey, World Lit, y Award Winning Author