On the outskirts of a town thirty miles from Istanbul, a master well digger and his young apprentice are hired to find water on a barren plain. As they struggle in the summer heat, excavating without luck meter by meter, the two will develop a filial bond neither has known before--not the poor middle-aged bachelor nor the middle-class boy whose father disappeared after being arrested for politically subversive activities. The pair will come to depend on each other and exchange stories reflecting disparate views of the world. But in the nearby town, where they buy provisions and take their evening break, the boy will find an irresistible diversion. The Red-Haired Woman, an alluring member of a travelling theatre company, catches his eye and seems as fascinated by him as he is by her. The young man's wildest dream will be realized, but, when in his distraction a horrible accident befalls the well digger, the boy will flee, returning to Istanbul. Only years later will he discover whether he was in fact responsible for his master's death and who the redheaded enchantress was.
A beguiling mystery tale of family and romance, of east and west, tradition and modernity, by one of the great storytellers of our time.
Translated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap.
The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed. The ruling elite therefore mustn’t know the full scope or nature of the project, and panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears. The only clue to the mystery–or crime? –lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex and power.
Translated from the Turkish by Erda M Göknar
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Since his boyhood in a poor village in Central Anatolia, Mevlut Karataş has fantasized about what his life would become. Not getting as far in school as he’d hoped, at the age of twelve he comes to Istanbul—“the center of the world”—and is immediately enthralled by both the old city that is disappearing and the new one that is fast being built. He follows his father’s trade, selling boza (a traditional mildly alcoholic Turkish drink) on the street, and hoping to become rich, like other villagers who have settled the desolate hills outside the booming metropolis. But luck never seems to be on Mevlut’s side. As he watches his relations settle down and make their fortunes, he spends three years writing love letters to a girl he saw just once at a wedding, only to elope by mistake with her sister. And though he grows to cherish his wife and the family they have, he stumbles toward middle age in a series of jobs leading nowhere. His sense of missing something leads him sometimes to the politics of his friends and intermittently to the teachings of a charismatic religious guide. But every evening, without fail, Mevlut still wanders the streets of Istanbul, selling boza and wondering at the “strangeness” in his mind, the sensation that makes him feel different from everyone else, until fortune conspires once more to let him understand at last what it is he has always yearned for.
Told from different perspectives by a host of beguiling characters, A Strangeness in My Mind is a modern epic of coming of age in a great city, a brilliant tableau of life among the newcomers who have changed the face of Istanbul over the past fifty years. Here is a mesmerizing story of human longing, sure to take its place among Pamuk’s finest achievements.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Una novela destinada a convertirse en uno de los mayores logros del Premio Nobel Orhan Pamuk.
Una sensación extraña, la novela más reciente de Orhan Pamuk, arranca con el anuncio de que lo que vamos a leer es, por un lado el relato de la vida, las aventuras y los sueños del vendedor callejero Mevlut Karatas, y por el otro un retrato de la ciudad de Estambul entre 1969 y 2012 visto a través de los ojos de numerosas personas.
Desde que a los doce años abandonara la aldea de Anatolia donde nació, Mevlut Karatas no hace más que fantasear sobre su vida. Instalado en Estambul, desde el primer momento se siente cautivado por la ciudad vieja, sometida a constantes transformaciones, y por la nueva metrópoli que se abre paso rápidamente en su lugar. Y es allí, en «el centro del mundo», donde le veremos crecer, enamorarse y ganarse la vida como vendedor callejero de boza, una bebida tradicional turca.
Pasa el tiempo y él sueña con prosperar, pero el azar parece conspirar en su contra. Y mientras todos a su alrededor logran hacer fortuna, él sigue deambulando de noche por los callejones de la ciudad, subsistiendo a base de míseros trabajillos que no conducen a nada y con esa sensación extraña que le hace sentirse diferente a los demás. Hará falta un nuevo giro del destino para que Melvut comprenda finalmente qué es lo que lleva toda la vida anhelando.
La crítica ha dicho...
«A falta de una palabra mejor diremos que Pamuk despliega la cualidad más rara y preciosa de un novelista: la sabiduría. [...]Pamuk muestra un talento que, con independencia de la técnica, el tono o el tema que elija, anima como una corriente eléctrica todos sus libros: su conocimiento de los pequeños deseos, envidias, irritaciones, esperanzas, deseos, arreglos, testarudeces y autoengaños que articulan la existencia cotidiana.»
Gonzalo Torné, Letras Libres
«Pamuk nos guía por un relato que, recorriendo varias décadas de pérdida, es, a su vez, un retrato casi antropológico de la obsesión, la clase social y las ideas sobre Oriente y Occidente.»
The New York Times
«Una de sus más cautivadoras novelas. Pamuk hace por Estambul lo que Joyce hizo por Dublín.»
Adam Kirsch, The Washington Post
«Pamuk reveló un gran talento narrativo desde el primer momento y su visión de Turquía, lejos de estereotipos, nos muestra la esencia de un país que ha forjado su identidad combinando tradición y modernidad.»
«Borges, Eco o Italo Calvino son el punto de referencia de este autor que bebe de las aguas hipnóticas y duales de una ciudad permanentemente escorada entre dos orillas, Oriente y Occidente.»
Galip is an Istanbul lawyer, and his wife, Ruya, has vanished. Could she be hiding out with her half brother, Jelal, a newspaper columnist whose fame Galip envies? And if so, why isn't anyone in Jelal's flat?
As Galip plays the part of private investigator, he assumes the identity of Jelal himself, wearing his clothes, answering his phone calls, even faking his wry columns, which he passes off as the work of the missing journalist. But the amateur sleuth bungles his undercover operation, and with dire consequences.
Richly atmospheric and Rabelaisian in scope, The Black Book is a labyrinthine novel suffused with the sights, sounds, and scents of Istanbul. An unforgettable evocation of the city where East meets West, The Black Book is a boldly unconventional mystery that plumbs the elusive nature of identity, fiction, interpretation, and reality.
In an old mansion in Cennethisar, a former fishing village near Istanbul, a widow, Fatma, awaits the annual summer visit of her grandchildren. She has lived in the village for decades, ever since her husband, an idealistic young doctor, ran afoul of the sultan’s grand vizier and arrived to serve the poor fishermen. Now mostly bedridden, she is attended by her constant servant Recep, a dwarf—and the doctor’s illegitimate son. Despite mutual dependency, there is no love lost between mistress and servant, who have very different recollections—and grievances—from the early years, before Cennethisar grew into a high-class resort surrounding the family house, now in shambles.
Though eagerly anticipated, Fatma’s grandchildren bring little consolation. The eldest, Faruk, a dissipated historian, wallows in alcohol as he laments his inability to tell the story of the past from the kaleidoscopic pieces he finds in the local archive; his sensitive leftist sister, Nilgün, has yet to discover the real-life consequences of highminded politics; and Metin, a high school nerd, tries to keep up with the lifestyle of his spoiled society schoolmates while he fantasizes about going to America—an unaffordable dream unless he can persuade his grandmother to tear down her house.
But it is Recep’s nephew Hasan, a high school dropout, lately fallen in with right-wing nationalists, who will draw the visiting family into the growing political cataclysm issuing from Turkey’s tumultuous century-long struggle for modernity.
By turns deeply moving, hilarious, and terrifying, Silent House pulses with the special energy of a great writer’s early work even as it offers beguiling evidence of the mature genius for which Orhan Pamuk would later be celebrated the world over.
This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.