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The White Castle

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  6,456 ratings  ·  485 reviews
From a Turkish writer who has been compared with Borges, Nabokov, and DeLillo comes a dazzling novel that is at once a captivating work of historical fiction and a sinuous treatise on the enigma of identity and the relations between East and West. In the 17th century, a young Italian scholar sailing from Venice to Naples is taken prisoner and delivered to Constantinople Th ...more
Hardcover, 161 pages
Published April 1st 1991 by George Braziller (first published January 1st 1986)
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Ian Agadada-Davida
A Short Start

I started reading this novel, because it was Pamuk's shortest and although I liked the subject matter of his other novels, I was worried I might bite off more than I could chew (I am the sort of person who must finish a book once I've started it, even if I hate it). So this was a taster for me.

From A to B Inevitably

I think it is fair to say that what happens at the end is inevitable. His craftsmanship lies in how he achieves it.

There is a moment towards the end of the book when th
Two men, seeking out for knowledge and the power it brings along. Two men, who dared, dreamed and endured. Two men who forgot who they were anymore. Two men who exchanged lives! The White Castle is a tale of secrecy, envy, ambition, science, identity and undying passion.

Who am I? Why we are the way we are? What made us ‘us’? Some people ask these questions, some don’t bother. The whole novel depends on these two kinds of people who ask & who don’t. When you see a man, you see the wrinkles in
Warning: you have to relax to read this book, just let go and let it take you where it wants.

This is a novel on identity: the plot really does not matter (is this the defining feature of good literature?), the crucial point is how two individuals actually become one, to the point that we no longer know ourselves who is whom.
Is the Italian slave really taking the place of his "hoja" (i.e. master, according to Adam Shatz in the London Review of Books), are they really swapping lives as previousl
Al Bità
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pamuk’s talent for storytelling is definitely unquestionable. Well, OK, you can disagree, I don’t care.
I loved the setting; it was basically the main criteria for choosing the book (I’d probably need to mention the reader-friendly length, as well). I loved the plot (the double / the identical twin, the capacity of exchanging not only identities, but also memories, ideas and beliefs), the framing device, the (unreliable) 1st person narrative, the mind games and the twisted relationship / brutal
Shoshi ♥~
" أليس الجانب الأمتع من الحياة هو تلفيق حكايات ممتعة ،، والاستماع إلى حكايات ممتعة " - في البدء شكرا لامتاعي ..

باموق في تجربتي الأولى معه

وحتماً لن تكون الأخيرة ...

سحرني ...أدهشني ..أحببت الصيغة التي كتب بها هذه الرواية ...

وقبل أن أبدأ في الثرثرة عن هذه الرواية فتحذيراً لمن لم يقرأ الرواية ربما سأتحمس وأكشف شيئا بدون قصد ..ولكن في كلا الأحوال ..باموق ساحر حتى وإن كنت تعرف مسبقاً تسلسل الرواية !!

أحببت أنه أختار شخصاًآخر ليكتب هذه الرواية .. وكأنه يتحدث معنا ككقراء ويتحاور معنا ..
وازداد الأمر
I was surprised at how easy and fast this was to read. Until I got to the end, I mean. Then I felt that I should start over and read it again, because I was sure I missed something. You tricked me, Mr.Pamuk! And I liked it!

The best part about this book was the exploration of identity. What does it mean, when I say who I am? What makes me me and not someone else? Not something I want to think about all the time, but excellent thoughts to spin around in the early hours of the morning.

Slightly besi
القلعة البيضاء

يقول الناشر في كلمة وضعها على قفا الكتاب، أن هذه الرواية وضعت باموق في مصاف الكتاب العالميين – وهي الرواية الثالثة له، بعد ( جودت بك وأولاده) و( البيت الصامت) -، ولكني بعد قراءة الرواية، لا أجد فيها ما يستحق كل هذا التقريظ والمديح.

بل إن هذه الرواية – مقارنة بروايته الكبيرة ( اسمي أحمر) – تبدو كخربشات روائي مبتدئ، الرواية أولا ً تعتمد تماما ً على السرد باستخدام أسلوب ضمير المتكلم – ذات الضمير استخدم في ( اسمي أحمر) ولكنها تميزت بتعدد الرواة، وغرائبيتهم أحيانا ً -، أما الفكرة التي
Chul-hyun Ahn
Are we really so different from one another? Why am I not the magnificent white castle that sits on top of the hill but a rusty, creaking and nonsensical monstrosity wrought in hopes of "proving things to them", stuck in mud and sinking to its death with poor, accidental participants in it? Why can't I be you? If I knew who you were, where you come from and what you thought of while eating lunch with your family on an idle summer day of your youth? Are there really things to be found inside ones ...more
Mohamed Shady
لن أقول أنها بداية عظيمة، لكنها ليست مخيبة للآمال أيضًا
فى لقاء آخر ربما أستطيع الجزم :)
Well, this was unexpected. And, to be honest, I had no valid argument to expect what I expected, but still… Somehow I thought this would be a plot-based story or a novella focusing on a particular, specific event. Maybe the beginning just slightly reminded me of “Devil’s Yard” (I. Andrić).

In the 17th century, after a pirate raid, a young Venetian intellectual is brought to Istanbul as a prisoner and begins living in a Hoca’s home shortly after that. The nature of his captivity though is not to
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Orhan Pamuk has won the Nobel Prize for literature and is supposed to be the premier man of letters in contemporary Turkey. However, I noted that more than one person on my friends' list on Goodreads was less than enthused with his books. Thus, instead of reading his more famous My Name is Red or Snow, I deliberately chose the slimmest volume on the shelf for my introduction--The White Castle--a mere 161 pages--yet this couldn't hold me even that far.

Set in seventeenth century Turkey, it's the f
Jun 30, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Herkes
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: Orhan Pamuk Bey kitaplar
Shelves: read-in-2011, turkey
The White Castle, or Beyaz Kale as it was first printed in Turkish is a book which looks long and hard at the idea of personal identity. The narrator asks "Of what importance is it who a man is? The important thing is what we have done and will do." This Kafka-esque statement eloquently sums up the essence of the two main characters, the Hoja (teacher) and his Italian slave. Throughout their time together slave and master are caught in a tussle over their identities.

Both recognise the similarit
I wanted to love this book, and it seems uncomfortably unintellectual for me to say that I have mixed feelings about it. Much of the time I felt like I was reading through a haze which had the added effect of slowing all action down. The end of the novel I first found vexing in the extreme--I spent the whole rest of the day after I finished it in a snit. But I've made my peace with it, and I understand (I think) why it may have done what it did. In the end, I'm glad I read it, but I didn't entir ...more
قلعة بيضاء وأبطال لا يتسامحون مع كونهم أنفسهم ولذا يريد كلا منهما حياة الآخر وقصص خيالية وسلطان أحمق أم أنة أذكاهم وشيطان لا يمكن السيطرة علية إن خرج و"هم" و "نحن" وهو أصبح الآخر والآخر أصبح هو..!!
ثلاثة أيام بلياليها اقتطعت منها سويعات في قراءة القلعة البيضاء, اقرأ قبل نومي و أول استيقاظي مباشرة على ضوء مصباحي الصغيرة أحب أن أضيف طقوسي الشخصية على كل رواية اقرأها, القلعة البيضاء رواية تستحق القراءة أكثر من مرة ربما أقراها بعد عدة أسابيع.
قبل نهايتها أو في الثلث الأخير تحديداً شعرت بقليل من الدوا
Ayu Palar
It's always interesting to know how authors improve from their first novel to their last one. I first encountered Pamuk's world of words through My Name is Red, and after several novels, I finally got in touch with his debut novel, The White Castle. I have to say that his father was completely right when he said his son would get a Nobel prize someday. Pamuk got the natural talent to be one of the most memorable writers in the world.

In The White Castle, there are seeds that would bloom in My Na
Abeerr Shiihab
" متى سينتبه اولئك الحمقى إلى تلك الحقائق ؟ هل اجتماع كل هذا العدد من المخبولين مصادفه ام اضطرار ؟ لماذا هم حمقى إلى هذا الحد ؟ "
ترجمه سيئه و مجرد سرد لا داعي له
i didn't like it, but may be because i expected a lot from it as a historical novel...
it was boring for me, i leave it several times,but finally i finished it...
Alp Turgut
Cervantes'in başyapıtı "Don Quijote"de geçen bir kısa hikayeden esinlenilmesi nedeniyle vakit kaybetmeden elime aldığım "Beyaz Kale", benim Orhan Pamuk'la harika bir şekilde tanışmama vesile oldu. Romanı ele alış biçimiyle yani üst kurguya yer vererek Cervantes'e gönderme yapan Pamuk, Dostoyevski'nin "Öteki" eserine benzer karakterleri Osmanlı zamanına uyarlayarak okuyucuyu insan benliğinde ilginç bir yolculuğa çıkarıyor. Karakterler arasındaki ilişkinin zaman zaman şaşırttığı kitapta "Ben kimim ...more
I'll be honest, I was pretty bored and disappointed.
Büşra Bal
Kitap okurken sürekli yazarın diğer kitaplarıyla karşılaştırarak okuyorum.Çok pis bir huy ama elimde değil. Beyaz Kale'yi okurken de sürekli Orhan Pamuk'tan okuduğum diğer iki kitabıyla karşılaştırdım.Şansıma bu kitabı diğer ikisinden daha çok sevdim.

Hikayede iki temel karakter var. Venedikli ve Hoca. Venedikli Türk'ler tarafından tutsak edildikten sonra tam idam edilecekken Hoca tarafından satın alınıyor.Hoca'nın amacı Batı'nın ilmini Venedikli vasıtasıyla öğrenebilmek. Venedikli de bir gün aza
Jul 16, 2011 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
After reading “My Name is Red”, I knew that I would be reading more by Mr. Pamuk. So, in preparation for a multi-week trip overseas, I scoped out the volumes in the local library branch. In a way, “The White Castle” was pre-selected both for size (light, good form factor for reading in planes, trains, and hotels) and for holding my interest (I read the blurbs on the books that were available). Usually, I won’t do such pre-screening other than to look at the cover. (You’d be surprised how many de ...more
Türk Edebiyatı'nda Orhan Pamuk'u bu kadar geç keşfetmek gerçekten üzücü. Geçtiğimiz yıla kadar mantıklı bir sebebi olmasa da Orhan Pamuk okumaktan kendimi hep uzak tutumuştum.

Beyaz Kale romanını ilk okumaya başladığım andan itibaren konusu ve anlatım tarzı beni kendisine bağladı. Orhan Pamuk yine tarihsel bilgisini ve ayrıntıları ile çok güzel bir eser çıkartmış. Kitabın son kısmında kullandığı kaynakları da belirtmiş olması beni ayrıca sevindirdi. Kitapta bahsedilenlerin gerçek ayrıntılarına da
Jenny (Reading Envy)
In my year of reading Turkish literature, I knew I should get through more of Pamuk. A few questions always cross my mind when reading Pamuk: 1) Am I understanding the nuance of the language as he wrote it in Turkish or is something lost in translation? and 2) Is this really the same Pamuk?

So far, every Pamuk I read is different in style, setting, and tone. This one is set in the 17th century, with an Italian noble being taken by Turkish pirates (well, Ottoman, really) and taken into the servic
The plot of The White Castle seems simple enough: During the seventeenth century, a Venetian is kidnapped by Turkish raiders and sold into slavery to a Turkish scholar who oddly enough looks a lot like him. The two men start studying biology, astronomy, and engineering together, and even try to construct a powerful weapon for the Sultan. Tellingly, the latter seems more interested in legends and soothe-saying than in modern inventions and advances. The novel ends questioning the protagonist as w ...more
Pardis Parto
در قرن هفدهم راهزنان ترک جوانی ونیزی را اسیر می کنند و به استانبول می آورند. او که مدعی است از علم نجوم، فیزیک و نقاشی سر رشته دارد، برده استادی ترک می شود. برده دار عزم می کند از برده خود درباره ونیز وعلوم غربی چیزها فرا گیرد. این دو ارباب و برده، به قصد شناخت و فهمیدن و فهماندن همدیگر، در خانه های تاریک و خالی مشرف به خلیج در دو سوی میزی مقابل هم می نشینند و به گفتگو می پردازند؛ سوار بر مرکب حکایت ها و ماجراهایی که نقل می کنند به ساختن و ابداع سلاحی باور نکردنی می رسند و آخر سر با این پرسش روب ...more
This book is like a wonderful labyrinth, or a hall of mirrors. What is real? What is imagined? Can we ever know the truth of something or someone?

In a word: brilliant.
Oct 13, 2015 Wayne rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wanting something a bit different
Recommended to Wayne by: the writer's nationality and reputation
This charming novella in style and size and subject matter became a dreary haul too soon.
The relationship between the poor Italian slave and his neurotic look-alike Turkish master just became tedious and repetitive. Although I eventually tried to gallop towards the end it seemed to grow ever distant.

HOWEVER (wonderful word that!!),the last chapters were moving.
And the poor Turk's determination to prove that one's enemies are thoroughly much like the recent Coalition of the Willing and
☽ Moon Rose ☯
Jul 29, 2012 ☽ Moon Rose ☯ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ☽ Moon Rose ☯ by: Sasha Menon
To plunge into the abysmal recesses of one's memories is to enter a reality within realities . A parallel formless universe that silently resides inside one's mind that is directly proportional or reversely different from what they actually are. As the material form of the sensual world merges with the formless realm of the human consciousness, it recreates a reality in some other form that seems to belong in another dimension...

For in truth, memories are but a combination of fact and fiction,
Elijah Spector
Nov 19, 2015 Elijah Spector rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elijah by: Kelly
The grass is always greener. Maybe that isn't the central point of The White Castle (Honestly, how many good books actually have one central point?), but it was the one that stuck with me the most.

Pamuk, in general, was suggested to me, so I went onto the Brooklyn Library's website and picked one of his books mostly at random -- smarty-pants literary books with plot summaries that sound like adventure stories are one of my favorite genre syntheses. Perhaps picking randomly wasn't the best choice
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Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul in 1952 and grew up in a large family similar to those which he describes in his novels Cevdet Bey and His Sons and The Black Book, in the wealthy westernised district of Nisantasi. As he writes in his autobiographical book Istanbul, from his childhood until the age of 22 he devoted himself largely to painting and dreamed of becoming an artist. After graduating fro ...more
More about Orhan Pamuk...

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“في تلك الأيام ربما كانت هذهِ هي الطريقة الوحيدة التي يفهم بها أحدنا الآخر: كان كل منّا لا يبالي بالآخر.” 19 likes
“Es algo sabido que la vida no está predeterminada y que todas las historias son una cadena de casualidades. Pero incluso los que son conscientes de esa realidad, cuando llega cierto momento de su existencia y miran atrás, llegan a la conclusión de que lo que vivieron como casualidades no fueron sino hechos inevitables. ” 5 likes
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