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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Orhan Pamuk

The current New Yorker, the winter fiction issue, contains the full text of the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk's Nobel acceptance speech, a wonderful essay called "My Father's Suitcase". As a Pamuk fan, I wanted to recommend it to you, so I just checked to see if it might be on line and was happy to find that it is, along with links to several more pieces both by and about the author from earlier editions of the magazine. It's nice to see these all in one place, at least for the time being. *

I wish I had started my Pamuk-reading with "Istanbul", a beautiful and straightforward family memoir and a portrait of a magical city. Instead I plunged into the much more complex "Snow", after the New York Times named it the best novel of the year. My husband would have called it "murky" - his terse, all-purpose summary of anything artistic that he didn't understand. In this case he might have had some true insight into the author's intention. It's a difficult, but rewarding book, and I've thought about it in retrospect more than almost anything I've read in the last few years. For Cliff Notes I'd recommend Margaret Atwood's review in the New York Times.

Update: Just came across this interesting video interview with his translator, Maureen Freely.

*The New Yorker link will take you to all of these articles if you are reading this in a timely fashion - in the last two weeks of 2006. If you are reading later, you'll need to search on the author's name to bring up the separate articles.

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