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Thread: Orhan Pamuk

  1. #1
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    Turkey Orhan Pamuk

    Orhan Pamuk (born on June 7, 1952) is a Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist and professor of comparative literature. He is one of Turkey's most prominent novelists, and his work has been translated into more than fifty languages. He is the recipient of numerous national and international literary awards. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on October 12, 2006, becoming the first Turkish person to receive a Nobel Prize.

    Pamuk was born in Istanbul in 1952 and grew up in a wealthy yet declining bourgeois family, an experience he describes in passing in his novels The Black Book and Cevdet Bey and His Sons, as well as more thoroughly in his personal memoir Istanbul at the . He was educated at Robert College prep school in Istanbul and went on to study architecture at the Istanbul Technical University. He left the architecture school after three years, however, to become a full-time writer, and graduated from the Institute of JournalismUniversity of Istanbul in 1976. From ages 22 to 30, Pamuk lived with his mother, writing his first novel and attempting to find a publisher.

    On March 1, 1982, Pamuk married Aylin Turegen, a historian. From 1985 to 1988, while his wife was a graduate student at Columbia University, Pamuk assumed the position of visiting scholar there, using the time to conduct research and write his novel The Black Book in the university's Butler Library. This period also included a visiting fellowship at the University of Iowa.

    Pamuk returned to Istanbul. He and his wife had a daughter named R?ya born in 1991, whose name means "dream" in Turkish. In 2001, he and Aylin were divorced.

    In 2006, after a period in which criminal charges had been pressed against him for his outspoken comments on the Armenian Genocide, Pamuk returned to the US to take up a position as a visiting professor at Columbia. Pamuk is currently a Fellow with Columbia's Committee on Global Thought and holds an appointment in Columbia's Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department and at its School of the Arts.


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    • Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları (1982)
    • Sessiz Ev (1983)
    • Beyaz Kale (1985) [Eng: The White Castle]
    • Kara Kitap (1990) [Eng: The Black Book]
    • Gizli Y?z (1992) [Eng: Secret Face, screenplay]
    • Yeni Hayat (1995) [Eng: The New Life)
    • Benim Adım Kırmızı (1998) [Eng: My Name is Red]
    • ?teki Renkler (1999) [Eng: Other Colors, essays]
    • Kar (2002) [Eng: Snow]
    • İstanbul: Hatıralar ve Şehir (2003) [Eng: Istanbul: Memories and the City, memoirs]
    • Babamın Bavulu (2007) [Eng: My Father's Suitcase, speeches)


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    (All text in this post is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    I'm quite surprised, looking at Pamuk's bibliography, that there's a couple of early novels that haven't been translated yet. No doubt they are more apprentice works before hitting his stride but I'm sure, especially for a Nobel laureate, there would be an interest in reading them.

    While I have The White Castle, Snow, and My Name Is Red on my shelves, the only one I've come close to reading is Istanbul, the memoirs. I didn't get too far in, as I recall, but his early life certainly came across as being a joyous and privileged one.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    Snow was one of the most boring books I have read. If not the most boring...

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    In what way was it boring?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    He had nothing to say. Well, that's not quite true, what he had to say was simple and he beat me over the head with it. Compound that with the fact that I just don't care about what he's saying and there's nothing there for me. The writing is good and there are some beautiful descriptions of setting but beyond that it was just so very weak.
    Last edited by ions; 19-May-2008 at 21:58.

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    I have My Name is Red in my TBR stack as well, I started, but was sidetracked, it was proving enjoyable though I must say. I'd be interested in his bio.
    "Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader." Vladimir Nabokov [Lectures on Literature]

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    I felt compelled to read his books because of my personal dislike towards his political stand. I tried reading "My Name Is Red" twice (in Turkish) but couldnt afford it. Because he has a very weak style there. Then I read "The Black Book" and loved it. I consider it as one of the most important pieces of the last century of Turkish literature. Now reading "New Life". So far so good, I say.

    Some Turkish writers such as A.H. Tanpınar, Oğuz Atay, Orhan Pamuk form a generation (or should I say tradition) of their own. I believe he could do better if remained an unpolitical writer. Although not everyone has to agree with me on this, I nonetheless view literature as a way to save one's existensial interests. That right there doesnt coinside with publicly speaking of politics, in my opinion.
    Last edited by metin; 14-Jun-2008 at 13:20.

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    Yesternight I finished reading "New Life". Both as a Turkishman and as a lover of literature, I loved it. Now I wonder if there are writers similar to him in style. Cause I want to go on reading such books. Now I have "Sessiz Ev" (The Silent House) to start reading.

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    Today I finished reading "Sessiz Ev" (The Silent House). The book doesnt carry one single message or any message at all, but here and there portrays various charachters' views on life. A positivist man who's been busy all his life with the aim to write an encylopedia which is expected to suddenly enlighten the poor Easterners, hence close the gap between the West and the East in the fastest way possible. Two young men in love for two girls. These four people are different types from different castes (if that makes sense). Pamuk displays a well-designed panorama of a milieu,which I doubt can be observed in this country. But the tool of irony is well used in this work. The dwarf, the nationalist boy, the historian, the encyclopedist and his wife's patience (also her cruelness) all reflect the bits of real aspects of life. May be I am not fully ready to comment on this book. I better give it one more try later.

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    Netherlands Re: Orhan Pamuk

    dear Metin e.a.

    I am so glad I am not the only one to not really like Pamuk! I too found Snow extremely boring and stopped at p 40 or something. I still intend to read Istanbul, because I like the city. I read House of Silence in the Dutch translation, as well as My name is red and Cevdet Bey and sons (not sure wether that is translated in English though).
    I preferred Cevdet Bey, one of his first books if I remember correctly. My name is red was ok as well.
    Most Dutch readers have trouble reading Pamuks long and winding sentences, which the Dutch translators preserved.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    I think Pamuk will go down as one of the greatest writers of all time! Haha how's that for a counter-stance.

    Metin, what do you dislike about his political stance? And I don't think his novels themselves are very political at all, with the exception of Snow which is obviously a "political novel" in the tradition of Dostoevsky's Demons (i.e. a polyphonic rather than polemical one).

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    I love Orhan Pamuk and have read all his novels that have been translated into English. I always wonder how Pamuk is received in his own country coz perception on a writer who is a big deal abroad is often not the same in his native place. translators of Pamuk esp Maureen Freely and Guneli Gun do very good job but wonder if Pamuk?s prose in turkish is as competent as the translations. Pamuks novels, esp snow has a polyphonic feel but i somehow sense the presence of a smug ,witty,judging author pervading the narrative space...well,true polyphony is haaaaaaard to achieve! Besides I feel Pamuk is a true romantic who is secretly peevish for having to conform to his postmodern times
    Last edited by afreen; 06-Nov-2008 at 09:05.

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    I gave "My Name Is Red" a third try and unfortunately re-failed finishing it. Pamuk lacks of the competence to use his mother tongue as elegantly and properly as a writer should. Many of his books have enormous grammatical errors which can't be excused. Yet I loved some of them for the sake of their content, such as "The Black Book" and "New Life". "My Name Is Red" is the peak of his linguistical incompetence. By the way his last product (Museum Of Innocence) starts with a good sample of Pamukean Turkish. The second sentence of the book is as follows: "Bilseydim, bu mutluluğu koruyabilir, her şey de bambaşka gelişebilir miydi?" Any Turkish high school student could notice the mistake there.

    As to my dislike for his political stand, he owes a great deal to his political statements for his worldwide fame. He was already well accepted as a literary-man before his statements regarding with the genocide claims in spite of his Turkish that just isn't sufficient to be called "a great writer". Wish he tried to brush up his native tongue and strived to go deeper into what he granted his readers in "The White Castle". But we got "My Name Is Read" and "Snow" instead with a language that sucks both aesthetically and grammatically. I still like the person who wrote "The Black Book" though.

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    Interesting discussion about Pamuk and the language. A couple of people I spoke with on my visit to Turkey both mentioned that they preferred reading his English translations because they felt the original language versions were tedious, long-winded, and boring. So do we credit the translators? Hmmm...

    They also mentioned the genocide statement and threw in the "he's a traitor" phrase and then recommended a couple of other Turkish writers to try, Elif Shafak and Latife Tekin. Both were ok. I prefer Pamuk.

    I try to separate the writer from the work, and with Pamuk, I'm just one of those that loves his language. His book Other Colors was by my side for a year. I enjoyed taking my time going through it.

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    I see most of you had problems with Snow.That's because it concerns some sirious politic problems of Turkey.'Sirious','Politic' and 'Turkey';if you are not interested in any of those,that means it's not the right book for you.Try My name is red,The Black Book and definitely 'The Silent House'.
    Not every book is for everyone.
    I believe every literature lover should give it a try though,even the subject doesn't seem appeal to you.Because this is literature.Then It would be boring if we only read about things we've already known.

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    I love Pamuk's work. I've read almost all the titles translated into spanish. A lot of peoples criticize his political eye translated into his novels, but you also have to see that beside this (not a bad sign) his stories are very well developed and have a very important message connecting East and West. I have to recognize that he always guides you magically through his stories, like a snake charmer. I always read his books hypnotized and this makes me enjoy a lot his narrative ways.
    Here's how I rate his books (chronogically orderd as I read them)

    My Name is Red + By far his best book
    Snow
    The Black Book
    The House of Silence
    The White Castle
    A New Life

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    Turkey Re: Orhan Pamuk

    I've just got to say. . .and I hesitate seeing that there are lots of Pamuk fans here, but. . .well, I simply couldn't get through My Name is Red. I haven't tried another book by Pamuk because I thought maybe I just didn't relate to his particular style of writing. Has anyone else found him intricate in a way that was difficult to follow? I don't mind intricate writers--for example, I share Titania's enthusiasm for Henry James. But Pamuk doesn't agree with me. . .or at least, he hasn't yet.


    --Diana

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    Hi Daniel,

    Could you please tell the translator's name? I wonder if it might be one of our professors at university.

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    Sure, let me check out and I'll let you know.

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    Default Re: Orhan Pamuk

    Hi,

    Pamuk's The Black Book is my personal favourite of all his books. I really like the original structure of the book and the many little stories scattered throughout the book. It is very similar to Eco's work in the mix of narrative and history and philosophy related digressions.
    I did become a little bored near the end when nothing had been happening for too long and it seemed as if Pamuk was struggling to somehow end the book. There was one chapter which was mostly about Hurufism, for example. But overall I think it is his best book, and the one in which he manages to explore many themes very skillfully.

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