Atalay's Reviews > Snow

Snow by Orhan Pamuk
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's review
Aug 08, 08

Recommended for: people who are interested in Turkey
Read in December, 2002

It has been a long time since I read Snow. I think it was just after its first publication in 2002. I am a great fan of Pamuk. I have started to read it again after reading Mackie's comments on Pamuk. Mackie says that most of his colleagues and students in İzmir Turkey did not like Pamuk or his novels. They think that Pamuk is an Orientalist and represent Turkey just the way the Westerners would wish to see. I really doubt that. And then there was Zonana's question to Mackie "What book would represent Turkey well?" It is hard to answer that question. I would suggest Nazım Hikmet's Human Landscapes from My Country as a start. But again many Turkish people will oppose my idea of recommending Hikmet's work as representative of Turkish soul.
Snow again. I read th first two chapters in the morning. I have been trying to understand why he has been so hated by so many in Turkey, yet I have to remind you that there are also a considerable number of his fans also. When Pamuk was asked to edit Turkish daily Radikal what he did was to take his revenge from daily Cumhuriyet, Republic. His headline was what Republic had written on Hikmet when he fled Turkey. Although Republic now seems to be a great promoter of Hikmet in 1950s it had a different line. Pamuk implied that Republic has had an hostile attitude towards controversial poets and writers. Most Kemalists would hate Pamuk for, I cannot find and show it to you but as they claim, Pamuk refers to Mustfa Kemal Ataturk, the commander of Turkish Independence war and the founder of modern Turkey, as the Sultan, the padishah whose job was to scare crows, referring to story about Atatürk's early childhood story. According to that story which is known by all the primary school students in Turkey, when Atatürk's father died when he was a little boy he had to spend some time at his uncle's farm for some time. There he scared crows from the fields to protect the crop. The Kemalists were furious. According to them that allusion was an offence of unforgivable type.
Then in Snow he gives voice to İslamist women blaming the state and Kemalists of taking part in the suicides of the girls. As far a I remember Pamuk accuses Kemalists for dealing with things like turban, headcover instead of trying to improve the lives of those girls who commit suicides. I would like to know more about Turkish femminists's response to Snow. As one of the main themes of Snow is the women.
On the other hand, there are still structures of feelings which are neglected. Why do the men treat women so badly? What are the traditions and the logic behind all that, how do they justify their behaviour, traditions, discourse, culture...
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