7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Istanbul: Memories and the City (Paperback)
A great memoire of a city leaves the reader nostalgic for a place he has never been. Orham Pamuk does not achieve this high mark, in his otherwise good memoire Istanbul.
Istanbul, chronicles Pamuk's life in the Turkish city, from childhood till adulthood. There are good chapters in this book that explore the "geography of youth" - the city covered in snow, or a family trip to the Bosporus. There is an excellent chapter about a fiery ship wreck on the Bosphorus, that captures the young Pamuk's imagination. Unfortunately these passages are left in-between long meandering sections about other Turkish writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In these chapters Pamuk writes in a self indulgent and obfuscating way. The book drags at times as he endlessly tries to describe his emotions in only the vaguest language.
This book is ultimately inconsistent. While much of Istanbul explores the author's way of internalizing the decay of Istanbul with his own feelings of melancholy, in the end Pamuk keeps the reader at an arms length. Ultimately the reader is left with a detached view of the city, and more importantly, a detached view of the author himself.
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Initial post: Aug 14, 2012 9:18:01 AM PDT
Brian Dunlap says:
Out of all the reviews I've read, this one most closely captures how I felt about Istanbul. I was hoping to be more at ground level in this books, get to feel the city and see it, like I am walking through it. Instead the reader is mostly given bios about the people who wrote about this great city.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2012 11:54:23 AM PDT
Robert Freeman says:
Thanks for the comment. Yes; it was over researched. Pamuk should have written more about how he experienced Istanbul himself, but instead wrote about what he read about it. It's like a third person memoir.
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