The Black Book
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The Black Book

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  4,138 ratings  ·  329 reviews
A New Translation and Afterword by Maureen Freely

Galip is a lawyer living in Istanbul. His wife, the detective novel�loving Ruya, has disappeared. Could she have left him for her ex-husband or Celâl, a popular newspaper columnist? But Celâl, too, seems to have vanished. As Galip investigates, he finds himself assuming the enviable Celâl's identity, wearing his clothes...more
Paperback, 466 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by Vintage (first published 1990)
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matt
this is a rare example of a reread for me. I don't reread books very often, not because I don't want to, blahblahblah....

My experience of reading this one was a good example of a certain kind of reader's disease. The kind where even though you are trying to focus your attention on the story, the language, etc your eyes start to water and you kind of glaze over in your mind, turning pages and sort of dimly registering the story. It's not "reading",per se, but it's not skimming either. It's not b...more
Wael Mahmoud
مع أسمي أحمر - في الحقيقة بعدها - تعتبر الكتاب الأسود أجمل روايات باموق ومن أهم الأعمال الروائية في التاريخ. يبدو الكتاب للوهلة الأولى بمثابة مسارين منفصلين - حكاية بحث غالب عن رؤيا ومقالات جلال "ثم غالب" - إلا أن الكثير في حكاية غالب لا يمكن فك طلاسمه إلا من خلال مقالات جلال، و لا تكمن المشكلة "المتعة" عندما تسبق المقالات دلالاتها في الحكاية بل عندما تسبق الحكاية مقالات فك دلالاتها. و لذلك فقط مع فولكنر و"إلى حد ما" كونديرا تعتبر القراءة الثانية لباموق بمثابة عمل فني في حد ذاتها.

بخصوص المقالات...more
Adam
A man’s search for his wife and her journalist ex-husband becomes intertwined with the latter’s bizarre articles/columns turning this book into a bewildering hall of mirrors of Dostoevsky styled feverish monologues, storytelling sessions like a Dinesen or Potocki tale, and Borgesian labyrinths of history and literature (and fake detective tale). Each chapter is its own unit; a short story, mock essay, or monologue. This book is exasperating, annoying, thrilling, and provocative at different poin...more
Whitaker
BUY THE KOBO EDITION HERE.

The book, in a nutshell, traces the protagonist’s search for his wife and, subsequently, also his cousin. There is indeed a vague plot resembling a detective novel here, but that is hardly the point of the novel. The real point of the novel is Turkey, as Galip’s search for Ruya takes him around Istanbul meeting various people who he thinks might help him find her, and via this process the novel morphs into an examination of identity, both individual and national.

On on...more
John
I hope that Orhan Pamuk really enjoyed writing The Black Book, because I definitely did not enjoy reading it.

It is ostensibly the story of Celal, a columnist for a major Turkish daily who has disappeared or ran away, told through the eyes of the his friend and brother-in-law, Galip. When Galip’s pulp detective novel-loving wife (Celal’s sister) disappears as well, Galip turns into something of a detective himself, and the plot thickens. And then, it slows to a tedious crawl.

Whatever the story i...more
مروان البلوشي

رواية الكتاب الأسود –برأيي الشخصي- هي أفضل ما كتبه الروائي التركي أورهان باموك حتى الآن. لن أكتب هنا عن رأيي بتفاصيل الرواية أو تقييمي لخباياها لا أريد ذلك، فهناك العديد من الأسرار التي تعلمتها والتي سأحتفظ بها لنفسي، ولكني سأذكر هنا 7 نقاط أساسية عن هذه الرواية (الرقم 7 سحري في غالبية الثقافات) :
1. مثل قصص التصوف العظمى التي تدور حول خروج الإنسان في رحلة طويلة للبحث عن الله والبحث عن نفسه، فإن هذه الرواية تدور حول رحلة مشابهة..
2. خورخي لويس بورخيس.. إيتالو كالفينو.. كاتبان نخبويان مهمان للغاية...more
Nojood Alsudairi
رحلة غالب للبحث عن رؤيا هي في الحقيقة رحلته للبحث عن ذاته التي لم يجدها حتى نهاية الرواية. رواية مليئة يالالغاز تجعلنا نفكر مليا في ذواتنا ومن نكون. هل نحن حقاً ما نحن عليه أم أننا صورة لما نريد أن نكون عليه أم صورة لما يريده الآخرون عنا؟. في رحلته للبحث عن رؤيا كان غالب يبحث في الحقيقة عن جلال الذي حاول تقمصة منذ صغره دون أن يشعر. وبالرغم من اكتشافه أن جلال لم يكن هو ذاته إلا أنه في النهاية وصل إلى أن أصبح هو جلال. يتضح لنا ذلك من تغير الخطاب من "هو" (غالب) إلى "أنا" التي انفرد بها جلال حتى الر...more
Carlo
Who you really are? On the surface, this seems like a question already posed elsewhere with such banality and tedium that some would be happy to declare that they don’t care about the question, let alone a possible answer. However, you can’t help but to think about your identity while riding the roller-coaster that Pamuk manages to pull-off in The Black Book. Like all great minds, Pamuk knows very well that attempting to answer such a question is quite complicated, though he is committed to taki...more
Asma awadh
يتحدث أورهان باموق عن هذه الرواية في كتابه ألوان اخرى"أشد ما أتذكره بقوة من الكتاب الأسود هي الأيام الأخيرة التي قصيتها في العمل عليه.في 1988 بعد ثلاث سنوات من العمل ,عندما كانت النهاية تلوح في الأفق ,أغلقت على نفسي لوقت قصير في شقة خالية في قمة بناية حديثة ترتفع سبعة عشر طابقاً في إرينكوي,حيث لم أفعل شيئاً سوى الكتابة.....فقدت الصلة بالعالم الخارجي,لكنني وأنا جالس في ركني لم أصل بالرواية الى الختام" وأضاف فيما بعد"كانت هناك أوقات كنت أخشى فيها أن الكتاب كان يسير الى غير مكان,وان كل الصفحات التي...more
Tim
I picked up this book at a library book sale - in part for the picture of the Hagia Sophia on the cover, the blurbs ("tantalizing," "splendid," "delicious"), and the promise of the exotic in Istanbul. The copy I purchased was published before Pamuk won the Nobel Prize.

This is an intricate and beautifully written book. It is a detective story like Calvino's If On A Winter's Night a Traveller is a detective story. Like that story it is a reflection on writing and identity, but set in Istanbul with...more
Martin
This was the first book I have read by Orhan Pamuk...apparently, it is not his best known...described as a "cult classic" by the Times Of London...and it appears to have come into translation much later than his other works. The story is s a rather bizarre "mystery" focusing on themes of identity, loss and isolation, amongst other things...and while Pamuk is obviously an amazing stylist (they don't tend to give out Noble Prizes willy-nilly), this particular book seems to have lost quite a bit in...more
Rafael
Otro libro negro

Este no es el de Papini, llamado así porque está escrito en una época que el mismo Papini, calificó de negra; la de la segunda guerra mundial. Este segundo libro negro está escrito por Orhan Pamuk y son más de 600 páginas de desafiante lectura de tristeza y soledad. Su negrura es la del dolor del autor que pierde a su mujer. Está construido alrededor de este hecho, la desaparición, huida, partida o pérdida de la mujer, no explicada, en una carta que deja al marido.
Él protagonist...more
John
This is the best Pamuk novel I've read, and it is the one that made his reputation in Turkey. It was not as widely-known to English-language readers as two of his subsequent novels ("My Name Is Red" and "Snow") because of a more difficult translation published in 1995. This newer translation is by Pamuk's close English-language collaborator Maureen Freely, and was published in 2006 shortly before Pamuk won the Nobel Prize.

The setting is Istanbul shortly before the military coup of 1980, though...more
Tchatchke
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher
While reading Orhan Pamuk's breakthrough novel, it is easy to feel as lost as the central character, a lawyer who discovers that the central mystery is not the whereabouts in enigmatic Istanbul of his missing wife, but rather that of identity itself. His identity, that of a newspaper columnist given to revolutionary tales and historical asides, that of a mysterious caller, and in fact, of Istanbul itself and its relation to the culture and identity of the West are all called into question.

The wr...more
Carl
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!

Orhan Pamuk is Turkey's most well-known author, internationally, and The Black Book is proclaimed by The Times Literary Supplement as his masterpiece. It was first published in 1991 and translated into English shortly after that. In an Afterword to this volume the current translator explains the vagaries of translating Turkish into English, and that she did this updated translation because the earlier version failed to reflect the flow of the Turkish language. Also, by being...more
Nick
This book should have been better. It had a very good beginning but then really fell off.

The fault is most likely both Pamuk’s and Freely’s (the translator). The way Freely described the translation process in the Afterword (which should have been the Foreword, unlike most Forewords, which give away the entire plot and should be Afterwords), it seems as if Turkish is incredibly hard to translate into English. She also relates how beautiful Pamuk’s prose is. That beauty does not come through. In...more
Steve
Remember those Magic Eye pictures that were popular back in the 90’s? If you stared at what looked like random dots or patterns in just the right way, forcing your eyes apart from their usual angled focus, a hidden 3-D image would suddenly pop into view. Some of them were pretty cool. If you were like me, though, it took a while to get it right. I remember moving the picture back and forth, commanding my eyes not to cross as it got closer to my nose and trying to hold that same angle as I moved...more
David
This is a massive achievement. It's quite exhausting to read as the author throws stories, characters, similies at us at a very rapid rate.
What is so special about it is the way he works on several levels: he brings home what it is like to be Turkish, how Istanbul is the frontier of cultures, and how much history is there. But on another, more modernist level, he raises questions of what it is to be an author, the relationship between reader and writer, and ultimately, what defines our identity....more
أسعد بدوي
أولًا: يلّعن/ انتهيت من رواية تتجاوز الستمئة صفحة في وقت قياسي (كنت أتمنى لو أنّي قضيت فيها وقت أطول).
القراءة لكاتب ثرثار مثل باموق أمر أقرب إلى التحدي فما بالكم لو كانت أكثر رواياته صعوبة يقول الكاتب عن "الكتاب الأسود":
"كنت أشعر بوحدة بالغة, مثل غالب . ربما كنت أشعر بذلك لكي أتمكن من وضع المشاعر في الكتاب لكنه كان مصاباً بالاكتئاب, بينما كانت وحدتي وعزلتي عن غضب . لأنهم لن يفهموا هذا الكتاب الذي كان يصبح أكثر غرابة بمرور الوقت, لأنهم سوف يقيسونه بالروايات التقليدية, لأنه كان من الصعب فهمه, لأن...more
Oon
WOW
WUAOW
WUOAOW

Sbenarnya buku ini tergolong buku yang susah dihabisi (dibaca sampai habis). Kalimat dalam buku ini panjang-panjang, penuh dengan koma dan klausa-klausa pendukung menyebabkan membaca buku ini lebih dari 2 jam dijamin akan membuat mata berair. Entah karena pedih ataupun karena menguap.

Tapi buku ini benar-benar sangat kaya. Penuh dengan pemikiran-pemikiran dan pertanyaan-pertanyaan terkait dengan pergulatan hidup hampir semua orang di dunia: masalah identitas. Berlatarkan awal tahun...more
Alexandra Le Trionnaire
Why does the search become always more important than the object of the search... Because, in the end we are always looking for ourselves.
Where does this search lead us to? To the realization that we have been tricked in following a certain hierarchy of ideas and tastes.
What reaction does that trigger? either we get naked in front of our own shortcomings, those that were hidden in the shadow of borrowed ideas and tastes, and suffer the utter poverty of who we are and what we truly own. Or we br...more
Paras Allana
The black book has been a journey, one where at times I just wanted to quit. It wasn't because I ever thought that the book is not worth reading but because of how tiresome it could be at times. It does not just tell a story, it makes you think at the same time too. The only other book I read of Orhan Pamuk was Snow and I can tell you, he writes with details if nothing else but, specially, while reading this book I found myself wondering of all the effort the writer must have put into it.

Its a...more
Aylin
sabahın 5inde kalkıp bitirdim. (bişrev. biz gerçekten öz ve öz biz miyiz? bütün çabamız bir başkası olmak mi yoksa? insan sadece kendisi olamıyor lakin tamamen başkası da olamıyor. araya sıkışıp kalmışız. yersiz, yurtsuz hissettiriyor bu duygu -galiba atalarımızdan kalma göçebe hayatın izleri- ne tam doğulu ne tam batılı. doğuya yaklaşsak doğulu olmak isteyen bir batılı, batıya kaysak batılı olmak isteyen bir doğulu oluyoruz. zor bir coğrafyada kolay anlaşılamayacak şeyler anlatıyoruz.)
hazmı zo...more
Elalma
Ho letto questo libro perché volevo "vedere" Istanbul, ma non da turista, bensì dall'interno, come fulcro di storie e di cultura raccolte nei secoli. Ora, se ci andassi forse rimarrei delusa se non vi trovassi questa Instabul. Una città interiore, luogo di memoria e di identità. Cercherei i manichini, vorrei visitare i cuniculi scavati dai Bizantini, vorrei cercare personaggi mai esistiti, che vagano come fantasmi in cerca di loro stessi.
E' indubbiamente un libro difficile, complesso, e come tu...more
Teresa Esteban
What a strange book... it took me a while to get into the story, basically because I'm in the middle of my finals and I don't have much time to read and, consequently, a read a bit in a hurry. And this is definitely not the way to read this book.
The main character, Gallip, one day comes back home and realises his wife, Ruya, has left him. He believes she has run away with Celal, his step-brother and a famous columnist, and that they are hiding somewhere in Istanbul. So he starts looking for the...more
Francisco
La memoria de Orhan Pamuk (por Cecilia Dreymuller, Diario El País, 25/01/02)

En Estados Unidos, donde suelen anticiparse las nuevas tendencias de nuestra deslumbrante vida moderna, advierten ahora en Internet contra la lectura de obras literarias complejas: 'Asegúrese de tener tiempo y energía antes de empezar una novela de Pamuk. Cada uno de sus libros es un puzle para el lector y suelen ser muy difíciles de leer y entender. Hay frases que se alargan hasta 8 o 10 líneas'. Una crítica del periódi...more
Chris
Celebrated Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk first found his own unique voice, along with a legion of loyal admirers, in this dense little musing on the nature of identity, which covers much of the same ground as his preceding "The White Castle", but to greater effect, and was first translated into English in 1994, only to be retranslated for a vastly superior second publishing in 2006 by the accomplished Maureen Freely, who explains all in an illuminating afterword.

Pamuk's main character, Ista...more
Philip
I have visited Turkey, but not Istanbul. It’s one of those iconic places that keeps cropping up in travel plans, but then gets overlooked, possibly because its name fits so easily into my thoughts that I convince myself I have already been there. Having just read Orhan Pamuk’s The Black Book, that illusion will be orders of magnitude stronger. Orhan Pamuk won the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature and this seems to have spurned new translations of his work, new versions which hopefully can widen hi...more
Maria
Een complex, tamelijk briljant maar veeleisend boek. In de vorm van een zoektocht naar zijn vrouw (+ naar zijn neef Celal, een bekend columnist), dolend door Istanbul,is het eigenlijke hoofdthema de zoektocht naar identiteit zowel van de hoofdpersoon Galip als ook van het Turkse volk. Terugkerende zinnen : je vroegere zelf weer worden, zichzelf bekijken als een ander, andermans plaats innemen, iemand anders worden, zichzelf niet kunnen zijn.

Er zijn nogal wat mysteries zoals de tekens op gezicht...more
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Ferit Orhan Pamuk is a Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist. Pamuk is often regarded as a post-modern writer. As one of Turkey's most prominent novelists, his work has been translated into more than forty languages. He is the recipient of numerous national and international literary awards. He was the first Turkish person awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on October 12, 2006, commended for bei...more
More about Orhan Pamuk...
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“[N]othing is as surprising as life. Except for writing. Except for writing. Yes, of course, except for writing, the only consolation.” 50 likes
“When you look into the faces of these quiet creatures who don't know how to tell stories--who are mute, who can't make themselves heard, who fade into the woodwork, who only think of the perfect answer after the fact, after they're back at home, who can never think of a story that anyone else will find interesting--is there not more depth and more meaning in them? You can see every letter of every untold story swimming on their faces, and all the signs of silence, dejection, and even defeat. You can even imagine your own face in those faces, can't you?” 18 likes
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