The Museum of Innocence
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The Museum of Innocence

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  8,005 ratings  ·  1,032 reviews
From the publisher: "A sweeping, emotionally charged novel of the nature of romantic attachment and the strange allure of collecting — this is Orhan Pamuk’s greatest achievement.

It is Istanbul in 1975. Kemal is a rich and engaged man when he by chance encounters a long-lost relation, Fusun, a young shopgirl whose beauty stirs all the passion denied him in a society where s...more
Paperback, 535 pages
Published October 2009 by Faber and Faber (first published 2008)
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Irwan
(Additional notes below)

One thing I just realized, whenever I am about to finish reading a book, usually some sketchy ideas or sentences appear in my mind, so that right after I finish it, I can just open Goodreads, rate the book and write those ideas. I am also usually satisfied after writing three or four paragraphs, feeling that I have said what I have to say. But, I can't do that with Pamuk's books.

The night I finished this book, I was sitting at my desk with my hands laid on the closed boo...more
Sandy Tjan
Jul 05, 2010 Sandy Tjan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Pamuk fans, closet romantics
I must confess that for the last five years, I have had a love and hate relationship with Orhan Pamuk (I also had a similar relationship with Charles Dickens, but that’s another matter altogether).

Pamuk’s style is meticulous and ornate, intensely introspective, sometimes deliberately repetitive, shot through with that particular Turkish kind of melancholy called ‘huzun’. At his best, his prose achieves a poetic, hypnotic quality that makes My Name Is Red such a compelling, mesmerizing read. But...more
Marieke
I think this will be a short review because i don't want to give too much away. This is probably one of the more unique books i've ever read, done completely unpretentiously. most of the time i was reading it, i was thoroughly swept up in its melancholy atmosphere, but as the story began to resolve toward the very end, the tone lightened and i happily noted Orhan Pamuk's sense of humor and ability to make fun of himself. at least that is how i processed certain things at the end of the book.

as a...more
Rowena
“Time had not faded my memories (as I had prayed to God it might), nor had it healed my wounds as it is said always to do. I began each day with the hope that the next day would be better, my recollections a little less pointed, but I would awake to the same pain, as if a black lamp were burning eternally inside me, radiating darkness.”
— Orhan Pamuk, The Museum of Innocence

I must say, when I first started reading this book, I groaned inwardly. I had come across it while I was researching the Tu...more
Neil
Okay, I'm going to tell it as it is. Nobel-winning writer aside, this book is insufferable. I frankly don't understand the hype, the glowing reviews, attention from the New Yorker - this book is bad. Really bad.

The story revolves around a privileged man in Istanbul who has a short affair with a shopgirl and proceeds to become completely obsessed with her. So obsessed is he that after the girl marries someone else, he ends up sitting at their dinner table for the next 8 years.

When Kemal is not ho...more
Lillian
I'm not sure what to think of this book. I loved Pamuk's memoir, Istanbul: Memories and the City. But this novel, which covers much of the same material from a fictional perspective, with a woman, instead of a city as the focus of attention, was a frustrating read. The cataloging of every meaningful interaction with Fusun, the focus of Kemal's obsession, and the collecting of thousands of objects she touched or that are associated with her, does capture something ... a period of time? Reading th...more
Erin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben

A magnificent obsession turns fatal

A review by Ben Antao

The Museum of Innocence
By Orhan Pamuk
Translated by Maureen Freely
Knopf Canada, 536 pages, $34.95


In an interview in Mumbai recently, Orhan Pamuk, 57, the author of The Museum of Innocence, said rather petulantly, “When Proust wrote on love, everybody read it as universal love; when I write about love, they call it Turkish love.”

Having read both Proust and Pamuk’s novel, I felt a tinge of sympathy for the Turkish Nobel prize winner of...more
jeand99
Aren't we all surrounded by thousands of tiny little things of the ones we love(d)?

"What a bore is life and how predictable: to be born, live and die." This is what I told my grandma (from my mothersside) at the age of eight after reading next weeks TV-guide completely. She looked at me with a little mysterious smile and said "Yes, you are right". I was old at the age of eight. The strange thing is this feeling never really left me. In retrospect my opinion back than was only a part of 'homo sap...more
Renato Guerra
Aún con el enorme cliché que se carga (chico rico se enamora de chica pobre) me decidí a leer la última novela de Orhan Pamuk pues hasta el momento es un autor que no me ha decepcionado. 648 páginas despues puedo decir con certeza que es una de las mejores novelas que he leído aunque seguramente se debe a que la he tomado en un momento preciso de mi vida (ya veremos si a la relectura sigo opinando igual).

El libro puede ser dividido en dos partes, la primera nos narra el desenfrenado amorío entre...more
Arda Aghazarian
After finishing "The Museum of Innocence," I found myself in need to talk about it. I wanted my friends to know about this, but I wanted them to know about it slowly, in small drips, and tiny pieces.

-"Do you have time for another cup of coffee?" I'd ask, "This might take a while, but chances are this book might be too long for your taste and you might not want to read it yourself, but you have to at least hear me out till the end. Let me tell you about it!"

It's not typical of me to do this sor...more
Stefania T.


"Una struggente storia d’amore ambientata nella Istanbul degli anni Settanta"

Se dovessi pragmaticamente sintetizzare la natura de “Il Museo dell’innocenza” non potrei fare altro che storcere il naso e ricorrere anch’io, come i curatori dell’elegante edizione Einaudi, all’inflazionata definizione di trama ed annunciarlo come…Una tormentata storia d’amore.

Per quanto mi piaccia crogiolarmi nel ruolo di bastian contrario, scettica nei confronti di tutto ciò che può essere classificato come l’ennesim...more
Cha Cha
An extremely tedious, depressing read.
I can honestly say that I read the first 150 pages, and then started skimming the rest (which I NEVER do, since I love reading) in search for dialogue.It is so melancholy and slow.

It reminded me of being in a room with an extremely self absorbed person, who blabbers on and on, touching the same points over and over again without really any concern if you're listening or not.

The writing style is also overly detailed, describing dry conversations with busin...more
Serkan
Romanda birinci kural; ana karakter mutlaka empati duyulabilir, sevilebilir bir karakter olmalıdır derler. Orhan Pamuk her zaman yaptığı gibi ana kurallardan birini çiğneyerek de güzel kitaplar yazılabileceğini göstermiş.

Masumiyet müzesi, Kemal Bey'in Füsun Hanım'a olan büyük aşkını -bana kalırsa büyük takıntısını- anlattığı akıcı bir roman. Füsun'la olan güzel günlerine tekrar kavuşamamak Kemal Bey'i öylesine derinden sarsıyor ki, tüm hayatını bir yana bırakıp, Füsun'la ilgili her türlü eşyayı...more
Gary
It was quite an experience reading this book.

At one stage i almost abandoned it as i just had
too much of Kemal's obsession and it was getting a bit tiresome.

However,while i was not reading the book and moved on to other books i keep thinking about it and realised it was beautifully written.The descriptions of Istanbul life in the 1970's and 1980's were so brilliant.
I would be having a coffee in my local cafe(wet and damp and indoors) and would start thinking about Istanbul and the warm feeling i...more
Tocotin
I think I'm just too forgiving when it comes to certain authors. I want to like them and to trust them because they write about topics or cultures I'm interested in, and then they let me down. So down. This is my third Pamuk novel, and I may be done with the guy. I liked "The White Castle". "My Name Is Red" was meh. I thought it immature and shallow, despite the fascinating subject. I kept waiting for some revelation, some deep insight, and it never came. It was the same with this book.

The first...more
Nitya
I ploughed my way through most of this book. In the middle, it really slowed down. But the last 100 pages sucked me in and made the whole book worth it.

I never felt any empathy for the central characters Kemal and Fusun. I thought he was too obsessive - a personality that would fix on anything or anyone to be obsessed by, irrespective of their personal qualities. I didnt get Fusun - she seemed to be very blurred. I could visualise her well, but not her personality and character. Towards teh end...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 2.75* of five

Five hundred pages of long-face about a pair of star-crossed lovers.

They're cousins. Only not really. And it's set in Istanbul in 1975, with excursions to the present.

I know more about Istanbul in 1835 than 1975, though the latter is within my own lifespan. (Okay, okay, WELL within my own lifespan.) I like Turkish history because it's so improbable and so full of moments when they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory! I like alternate history so I love those moments wher...more
Tanuj Solanki
The review till now ->>

One has to begin with 'Love in the time of Cholera'. Marquez's novel on obsessive love has to be compared with Pamuk's novel. But perhaps such a comparison is to be done precisely to show the astounding difference between the two novels.

The protagonists of both novels - Marquez's Florentino Ariza and Pamuk's Kemal Basmaci - are obsessive about their love interests, with an obsession that finds it absolutely necessary to calibrate itself. So we have Florentino - keep...more
Azarin
The Museum of Innocence - in my opinion - is not Orhan Pamuk's best work, but it is still an amazing novel.
I have just finished reading it and I am - again - blown away by Pamuk's genius and his ability to grasp and to hold my attention for the whole length of 530 pages of the novel. Plus, I feel a bit melancholic, leaving his extraordinary but fictional world, made of the same ingredients: a man`s quest to find love, his life's gradual but drastic change, and this endless pursuit of happiness....more
an nhu
i waited for almost one week(or so i guess lol) to write down what i felt after reading this piece of novel.

"The Museum of Innocence" is sometimes considered another " Love in the time of Cholera" as they both depict such persistence and infinity of love despite time and space. Both Kemal Bey and Florentin both withhold love for "the one" of their life, though in two different ways.

Kemal bey knew deep in his heart that he and Fusun were made for one another. Although she is married, he sensed,...more
Melinda
This is a long and tedious book about a man's pathological life-long obsession with a beautiful young women. The story begins when Istanbul resident Kemal meets 18 year old shopgirl Fusan who is also a distant relative. She is attracted to his money and he is attracted to her youth and beauty. Twelve years older and engaged to be married, Kamal begins an intense, albiet short-lived, affair with the girl. However, his fixation with the teenager does not end there. (The Museum of Innocence is an a...more
Sonia Gomes
Oct 09, 2013 Sonia Gomes rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Sigh, no one really
Sonia rushes to the shelf that houses Pamuk’s books, his visit to Goa has got everyone in a tizzy, should we read Pamuk or not is the question of the day. Nobel Laureate visiting our homeland after all. Museum of Innocence she thinks, how quaint, comfortably seated she plunges into the book; her eagerness knows no bounds….

Page 1; Wow, sex on the very first page. Isn’t that a tad antiquated? A Nobel Laureate knows what he is doing. She reads better writing is sure to follow…..

Page 5-25; High soc...more
Alan Newman
I have read a lot of Pamuk: My name is Red, Snow, White Castle, Istanbul. He writes in Istanbul of a special melancholy that the city imparts to its inhabitants, and this certainly permeates his work. Moreover, there is a claustrophobic, obsessive feel to his books--his characters are trapped in their own obsessions. I felt I had escaped from the book when I finished Snow, and that sense of airlessness and entrapment is even more pronounced in the Museum of Innocence--a book I YEARNED to escape...more
Bob Pearson
"An astonishing achievement" says one review. Orhan Pamuk's "greatest achievement" says the book cover. Maybe. It could also be the narcissistic intellectual extravagance of someone who's won a Nobel Prize for Literature. If you seriously start into this book, you'll wonder how many editors died for Pamuk's sins to get it published. But if you do indeed stay with it, its compelling attraction pulls you unforgivingly through the book despite yourself. As his hopeless, feckless hero follows the tr...more
Rose Margaret  Deniz
Once in awhile there's a book I haven't particularly enjoyed reading, but that has left a lasting impression, and The Museum of Innocence is one of them (Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel, The Corrections, The Name of the Rose: Including Postscript, as other examples). I've discovered something about my reading habits while reading this book, too, that I will stay with a book even when I tire of it if there is some kind of alchemy that happens, some elixir or intangible element that exist...more
علی
A long and detailed account of the obsessive love that Kemal, a wealthy businessman, bears for Füsun, a lower class girl, relatively poor, 12 years younger than him, not regarding her interests or situation. His selfishness refuses to give up his fiancée (Sibel), to be with his love (Füsun), but becomes an obsessive collector of the objects of his short being with Füsun, a bizarre situation as Kemal objectifies Füsun, satisfying his emotional obsession. He can not / would not treat her as a subj...more
Tom Ireland
Last night in the wee hours I finished my latest book, Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence. In retrospect, when you are trying to blog with some degree of regularity, a book of more than seven hundred pages was never a wise move. But when every one of those pages seems specifically designed to drag the story out like a miser's butter, you are in trouble.

I rarely read contemporary novels, reasoning that if they are really worth reading now, they will still be worth reading in a couple of decade...more
مينا ساهر
"فلتخبر الجميع، أنني قد عشت حياة سعيدة "
بهذه العبارة الأخيرة التي يهمس بها كمال بك موصياً أورهان باموق أن تكون الكلمة الأخيرة في هذا الكتاب، تنتهي رواية متحف البراءة.
الرواية التي أرهقتني جداً في قراءتها كعادة أورهان باموق. و لكنني التهمت نصفها الثاني في 4 أيام فقط، بينما ظل نصفها الأول يتأرجح معي طيلة شهور سبع ماضية.

الرواية تحيرني في كيفية الكتابة عنها لأنها سفر ضخم يتجاوز ال700 صفحة.

من مميزات الكتاب الكبيرة أنه يؤرخ للطبقة البورجوازية في تركيا في فترة السبعينات بشكل مميز، مع إطلالة خفيفة على أح...more
Minh
**Stopped reading after 200 pages**

I just...couldn't...do it anymore. I really tried to stick with it but Kemal Bey is probably one of the most annoying and creepiest guy (or douchebag, in some cases) I've ever come across in the fiction world. I lumbered through around 100 pages of his affair with Fusun, and then practically dragged myself through 100 more pages of his constant whining and "heartache" and just plain old annoying-ness.

I just got tired of him and the painfully slow-developing sto...more
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1728
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...
Snow My Name is Red Istanbul: Memories and the City The Black Book The White Castle

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“Real museums are places where Time is transformed into Space.” 106 likes
“In fact no one recognizes the happiest moment of their lives as they are living it. It may well be that, in a moment of joy, one might sincerely believe that they are living that golden instant "now," even having lived such a moment before, but whatever they say, in one part of their hearts they still believe in the certainty of a happier moment to come. Because how could anyone, and particularly anyone who is still young, carry on with the belief that everything could only get worse: If a person is happy enough to think he has reached the happiest moment of his life, he will be hopeful enough to believe his future will be just as beautiful, more so.” 77 likes
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