Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways's Reviews > The Museum of Innocence

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
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Dec 23, 11

Read in May, 2010

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 where things could have gone either fodder for imaginings.

I thought this book, about the life lived by a wealthy man who seduces his poor, estranged teenaged cousin in his mother's extra apartment would fill in a gap for me.


The obsessiveness with which this poor schmoe turns his very real guilt over his cousin's blighted life into a passion for collecting the minutuae and ephemera of that life is, well, distasteful. It's just amazing to me to imagine that kind of passionate hold a person has over another, and for such a negative reason.

The cousin dies, of course, because no bad girl can live, right? And the man withers and wastes away, insisting to the author (who appears as himself, called "Orhan Bey," in what I can only describe as a grandstandy little bit of Maguffinry) that he's led a happy life, tell the story of the happy life, as he's about to die at, what, sixty? Codswallop! He's led a miserable half-life, and quite appropriate too, and frankly the only thing that keeps this from being a 50s Ann Bannon lesbian romance is the gender of the protagonist and the Nobel Prize for Literature that Orhan Bey has won.

Read at your own risk.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Heidin-Seek I was hoping the only thing I wouldn't like about this would be the length.

Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Ian wrote: "I was hoping the only thing I wouldn't like about this would be the length."

I fear that hope is quite likely to be dashed.

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