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A spellbinding tale of disparate yearnings – for love, art, power, and God – set in a remote Turkish town, where stirrings of political Islamism threaten to unravel the secular order; by the winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature.

From the acclaimed author of My Name Is Red comes a spellbinding tale of disparate yearnings–for love, art, power, and God–set in a remote Turkish town, where stirrings of political Islamism threaten to unravel the secular order.

Following years of lonely political exile in Western Europe, Ka, a middle-aged poet, returns to Istanbul to attend his mother's funeral. Only partly recognizing this place of his cultured, middle-class youth, he is even more disoriented by news of strange events in the wider country: a wave of suicides among girls forbidden to wear their head scarves at school. An apparent thaw of his writer's curiosity–a frozen sea these many years–leads him to Kars, a far-off town near the Russian border and the epicenter of the suicides.

No sooner has he arrived, however, than we discover that Ka's motivations are not purely journalistic; for in Kars, once a province of Ottoman and then Russian glory, now a cultural gray-zone of poverty and paralysis, there is also Ipek, a radiant friend of Ka's youth, lately divorced, whom he has never forgotten. As a snowstorm, the fiercest in memory, descends on the town and seals it off from the modern, westernized world that has always been Ka's frame of reference, he finds himself drawn in unexpected directions: not only headlong toward the unknowable Ipek and the desperate hope for love–or at least a wife–that she embodies, but also into the maelstrom of a military coup staged to restrain the local Islamist radicals, and even toward God, whose existence Ka has never before allowed himself to contemplate. In this surreal confluence of emotion and spectacle, Ka begins to tap his dormant creative powers, producing poem after poem in untimely, irresistible bursts of inspiration. But not until the snows have melted and the political violence has run its bloody course will Ka discover the fate of his bid to seize a last chance for happiness.

Blending profound sympathy and mischievous wit, Snow illuminates the contradictions gripping the individual and collective heart in many parts of the Muslim world. But even more, by its narrative brilliance and comprehension of the needs and duties

463 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2002

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About the author

Orhan Pamuk

130 books9,279 followers
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 from the secular American Robert College in Istanbul, he studied architecture at Istanbul Technical University for three years, but abandoned the course when he gave up his ambition to become an architect and artist. He went on to graduate in journalism from Istanbul University, but never worked as a journalist. At the age of 23 Pamuk decided to become a novelist, and giving up everything else retreated into his flat and began to write.

His first novel Cevdet Bey and His Sons was published seven years later in 1982. The novel is the story of three generations of a wealthy Istanbul family living in Nisantasi, Pamuk's own home district. The novel was awarded both the Orhan Kemal and Milliyet literary prizes. The following year Pamuk published his novel The Silent House, which in French translation won the 1991 Prix de la découverte européene. The White Castle (1985) about the frictions and friendship between a Venetian slave and an Ottoman scholar was published in English and many other languages from 1990 onwards, bringing Pamuk his first international fame. The same year Pamuk went to America, where he was a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York from 1985 to 1988. It was there that he wrote most of his novel The Black Book, in which the streets, past, chemistry and texture of Istanbul are described through the story of a lawyer seeking his missing wife. This novel was published in Turkey in 1990, and the French translation won the Prix France Culture. The Black Book enlarged Pamuk's fame both in Turkey and internationally as an author at once popular and experimental, and able to write about past and present with the same intensity. In 1991 Pamuk's daughter Rüya was born. That year saw the production of a film Hidden Face, whose script by Pamuk was based on a one-page story in The Black Book.

His novel The New Life, about young university students influenced by a mysterious book, was published in Turkey in 1994 and became one of the most widely read books in Turkish literature. My Name Is Red, about Ottoman and Persian artists and their ways of seeing and portraying the non-western world, told through a love story and family story, was published in 1998. This novel won the French Prix du meilleur livre étranger, the Italian Grinzane Cavour (2002) and the International IMPAC Dublin literary award (2003). From the mid-1990s Pamuk took a critical stance towards the Turkish state in articles about human rights and freedom of thought, although he took little interest in politics. Snow, which he describes as “my first and last political novel” was published in 2002. In this book set in the small city of Kars in northeastern Turkey he experimented with a new type of “political novel”, telling the story of violence and tension between political Islamists, soldiers, secularists, and Kurdish and Turkish nationalists. Snow was selected as one of the best 100 books of 2004 by The New York Times. In 1999 a selection of his articles on literature and culture written for newspapers and magazines in Turkey and abroad, together with a selection of writings from his private notebooks, was published under the title Other Colours. Pamuk's most recent book, Istanbul, is a poetical work that is hard to classify, combining the author's early memoirs up to the age of 22, and an essay about the city of Istanbul, illustrated with photographs from his own album, and pictures by western painters and Turkish photographers.

He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006.

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Profile Image for Lisa.
977 reviews3,327 followers
December 12, 2017
A mystery.
A social case study.
A culture clash.
A literary masterpiece.
Unreliable narrators.
Political campaigns.
Multiple truths.
Diverse realities.
Deeply moving characters.
Darkly funny storylines.
Religious fundamentalism.
Arrogant humanism.
Liberal press coverage.
Fake News.
National identity divergences.

This novel contains so many different strands, I am hopelessly incapable of reviewing it. Ever since I first read it, just after Orhan Pamuk received the Nobel Prize, it has been one of my most cherished literary treasures, a book full of truth and lies, of foolishness and wisdom, of love and hate, of passion and indifference. A book full of LIFE!

If anything, it has gained more power in recent years, as we see Turkish democracy facing ever harder challenges, and various traditions clashing with liberal ideas and freedom of thought. As history moves on, the story of the Istanbul journalist who visits remote Kars to investigate young women's suicides becomes more real, and relevant, and the questions raised shine in a bright new light.

The power of a novel to speak truth to power and to enrage people!

Recommended to the world!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
September 1, 2021
Kar = Snow, c2002, Orhan Pamuk

Snow, is a novel by Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. Published in Turkish in 2002, it was translated into English by Maureen Freely and published in 2004.

The story encapsulates many of the political and cultural tensions of modern Turkey and successfully combines humor, social commentary, mysticism, and a deep sympathy with its characters.

Ka is a poet, who returns to Turkey after 12 years of political exile in Germany. He has several motives, first, as a journalist, to investigate a spate of suicides but also in the hope of meeting a woman he used to know.

Heavy snow cuts off the town for about three days during which time Ka is in conversation with a former communist, a secularist, a fascist nationalist, a possible Islamic extremist, Islamic moderates, young Kurds, the military, the Secret Service, the police and in particular, an actor-revolutionary. In the midst of this, love and passion are to be found.

Temporarily closed off from the world, a farcical coup is staged and linked melodramatically to a stage play. The main discussion concerns the interface of secularism and belief but there are references to all of Turkey's twentieth century history.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پانزدهم ماه دسامبر سال 2016میلادی

عنوان: برف (سکوت برف)؛ نویسنده: اورهان پاموک؛ برگردان شهرام دشتی، مشخصات نشر تهران، البرز، 1386، در 624ص، شابک9789644425608؛ چاپ پیشین: با ترجمه سیمین موحد؛ نشر ورجاوند، 1385، در 687ص؛ شابک 9647656572؛ ترجمه از متن انگلیسی؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ترکیه، سده 21م

برف؛ اثر «اورهان پاموک»؛ روایتگر داستانی عاشقانه است؛ که در پس زمینه ی مشوش «ترکیه» ی امروز، که سرشار است از تنشهای موجود میان سنت و اصلاح طلبی، دین و خدا ناباوری مدرن و…؛ روی میدهد؛

داستانی عاشقانه که در فضای زیبا – و البته بعضاً فریبکار- شهری مرزی، که درگیر برف و بوران شده؛ شکل می‌گیرد؛ «کا» شاعری تبعیدی ست، که به دلیل درگذشت مادر خویش، به «ترکیه» باز گشته است؛ پس از خاکسپاری مادر در «استانبول»، «کا» خبردار می‌شود، دختری که در زمان دانشجویی، از دور، عاشقش بوده، از همسرش جدا شده است، «کا» به قصد دیدار او، به شهر شمالی «قارص» سفر می‌کند؛ او خود را روزنامه نگار معرفی کرده، و به بهانه‌ ی تهیه ی گزارش، درباره‌ ی مسائلی از قبیل خودکشی‌های اخیر دختران جوان، و انتخابات شهرداری، که به زودی برگزار خواهد شد، وارد شهر می‌شود؛ «کا» دوباره «ایپک» را می‌بیند، و دوباره مسحور زیبایی‌ اش می‌شود، زیبایی‌ ای که به مراتب از آنچه که در یادش مانده بود، ناباورانه تر است؛ او به این نتیجه رسیده است، که «ایپک» پاسخ تمام رویاهای او هست، در مدت زمان اقامت کوتاهش در «قارص (شهری است در شمال شرقی ترکیه)»، با بیقراری تمام، «ایپک» را دنبال می‌کند؛

در هتلی که مالکش پدر «ایپک» است، اتاقی کرایه می‌کند، تا از آن راه بتواند راحت‌تر «ایپک» را دیدار کند؛ پدر «ایپک»، «کا» را برای شام دعوت می‌کند، و «کا» با دیدن «ایپک»، بیشتر و بیشتر عاشقش می‌شود؛ «کا» به دلیل مصاحبه‌ هایی که برای گزارش نمایشی‌ اش، با مردم انجام می‌دهد، بلافاصله درگیر وقایع روز شهر می‌شود؛ نامزد پست شهرداری؛ که کسی نیست، جز همسر پیشین «ایپک»، و دوست سابق «کا»، به نام «موهتار»؛ خانواده‌ های قربانیان خودکشی‌ها؛ معاون رئیس پلیس؛ و حتی رهبر گروه تثاتر، «سونای زعیم»، که سالها پیش دوستی مختصری با «کا» داشته، و حالا برای اجرای نمایشی در سالن تئاتر ملی، در شهر است؛ «کا» بعضی از دانش آموزان دبیرستان مذهبی را، نیز دیدار می‌کند، دانش آموزانی که از او، به خاطر صحبت کردن، با دخترانی که حاضر به برهنه کردن سرهاشان نشده بودند، خوششان آمده است؛ آنها «کا» را به چند تن از رهبرانشان، «نجیب» و «فاضل»، که از قضا از طرفداران متعصب خواهر «ایپک»، «ردیفه» –عاشق سینه چاک و معشوقه ی تروریست اسلامی بدنام شهر، «آبی (بلو)»- هم هستند، معرفی می‌کنند؛ «کا» در مدت زمان کوتاهی که در «قارص» اقامت دارد، موفق می‌شود دل «ایپک» را به دست آورده، و چه زبانی و چه فیزیکی، عشقش را ابراز کند؛ این مسئله باعث می‌شود: «کا» بیش از هر زمان دیگری، در زندگی خویش احساس خوشبختی کند؛ با این حال، خوشبختی‌ او در سایه‌ ی تردیدهایی که در هر قدم، بر سر راهش قرار می‌گیرند، فرو می‌رود؛

البته یکی از ژرفترین اثرات این خوشبختی این است که «کا» دوباره توانایی سرودن پیدا کرده، و در مدت چند روز، نوزده شعر عاشقانه سروده، که بهترین اشعار عمرش نیز هستند، اشعاری که گویی از وجود کس دیگری سرچشمه می‌گیرند؛ یکی دیگر از مسائلی که «کا» در زمان اقامتش با آن مواجه می‌شود، کشمکشی است که در درونش در مورد اعتقاد به خدا وجود دارد؛ او بارها و بارها خود را خداناباور پنداشته، اما در زمان اقامتش در «قارص»، به دیدار شیخ اعظم شهر رفته، و عشقش به خدا را اعتراف می‌کند؛ با این حال، اسلام‌گرایان شهر، صحت ادعاهایش را به چالش کشیده، و او را متظاهری می‌خوانند، که تنها برای به دست آوردن نظر مثبت آنان، ادعای خداپرستی می‌کند؛ نهایتاً، در آخر، …؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 09/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
23 reviews23 followers
December 4, 2013
After finishing this book I felt virtuous, relieved. Then baffled, irritated, and finally dismissive. Other Good Reads reviewers express the desire to like this book, but proceed to be confused, bored, and insecure. Most wrap up with the dismal feeling that they didn’t GET it, and so didn’t succeed in really liking it. I felt the same, but in addition was supremely annoyed and turned off by it. I’m not so good at post-modern fiction to begin with, but I decided to leave my bias at the door because I had heard such great things about this author, and Pamuk didn’t seem like a bogus poser from what I’d read.
The story is about an expatriate Turkish poet named Ka who leads a solitary and arid life in Frankfurt and travels to a remote village in his homeland, ostensibly to investigate a spate of suicides by religious Muslim women protesting the injunction to remove their head scarves at school. He is really there to kindle a romance with a recently divorced woman he knew at university. The novel unfolds over three days when the snow has cut off the town from the outside world. What transpires is a coup led by a dysfunctional theater troupe, a lot of political intrigue, and much ball batting between secular and religious townspeople. Pamuk gives equal billing to every opinion, although they do not differ much in terms of their reductive, inflamed and binary natures, or in ability to capture my interest or sustained attention. This is in large part because the protagonist Ka is stunted,childish and infuriating himself, and the writing is both busy and detached. The political intrigue and opinions in Snow are not interesting or illuminating, as they do not emanate from fleshed-out people, but cardboard cut-outs spouting giant, densely packed and tedious word bubbles.
Inspiration strikes Ka while in Kars, and he stops to transcribe a series of nineteen poems, whenever they descend on him in perfectly realized form. Conveniently they get lost, but a conversation about them between Ka and his paramour goes like this:
“Is it beautiful?” he asked her a few moments later.
“Yes, it’s beautiful!” said Ipek.
Ka read a few more lines aloud and then asked her again, “Is it beautiful?”
“It’s beautiful,” Ipek replied.
When he finished reading the poem, he asked, “So what was it that made it beautiful?”
“I don’t know,” Ipek replied, “but I did find it beautiful.”
“Did Muhtar [her ex] ever read you a poem like this?”
“Never,” she said.
Ka began to read the poem aloud again, this time with growing force, but he still stopped at all the same places to ask, “Is it beautiful?” He also stopped at a few new places to say, “It really is very beautiful, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it’s very beautiful!” Ipek replied.
To my mind, only a child under ten should ever be indulged in this sort of megalomania, and then only by his mother, but Ka is nowhere punished, ridiculed or even chided for his insufferable personality, and in fact I think we are supposed to admire him as embodying the innocence, purity, pathos and single-mindedness that come with being a true artist.
Margaret Atwood says, in the New York Times Book Review “Not only an engrossing feat of tale-spinning, but essential reading for our times. [Pamuk is] narrating his country into being.” This seems to me the best case for why Snow won the Nobel Prize. The book makes Turkey legible, as well as digestible, to the West. The novel is chock a block with allusions to white western male institutions – Kafka, Coleridge, Mann, Nabokov (he wrote a lot of stuff in the west, anyway): an annoying and intrusive narrator, a novelist named Orhan, whose games of peek-a-boo get harder and harder to humor, an abysmal, abyssal usage of literary envelopes, a morose and misunderstood genius of a hero who falls desparately in love with a woman he obstinately refuses to lend more than one dimension – the sex scenes, incidentally, are some of the most unintentionally off-putting I have ever read, and recall the experience almost every woman has been unfortunate to undergo at least once, where she feels she might leave the room, go get some cheesecake and stand in the door frame watching her partner rythmically brutalizing a stack of pillows in laughable ignorance of her whereabouts or even existence. Afterwards our hero has the witlessness to add to the injury by calling this essentially masturbatory act “love-making”. In fact, this pretty much sums up my response to the whole book.

Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,086 reviews7,008 followers
March 14, 2023
[Revised 3/14/23]

Our main character is a Turkish emigre, one of many who live in Germany. He is returning home after years away. We are told he ran into political difficulties with his poetry and decided to leave Turkey. He returns to Turkey ostensibly for his mother’s funeral, but he has also learned through the grapevine that an old flame of his is now divorced. His instinct is that this journey will change his life.


Once back in Turkey, when he needs a reason to stay on, he tells people he is a journalist doing a story on the “headscarves suicides.” A good part of the story centers on the production and delivery of a play about the headscarves. The state-sponsored play comes across as reminiscent of the type of thing put on in Mao’s China that everyone had to attend.

Kars, where the novel is set, is a real city in the northeast corner of Turkey, near Georgia, and Armenia and not far from the Caucasus Mountains and Russia -- thus the severe winter weather of the title. Its nearness to many borders has also given it a complex ethnic and political history, with Greeks, Georgians, Kurds and Persians in its past and present. Abandoned Russian and Armenian mansions and other buildings figure in the story. One theme is that the city is 'down and out,' destitute really, by-passed by the modern economy. About twenty times the narrator walks the snow-filed streets and tells us he looks in on the teahouses filled with unemployed men smoking themselves to death.

During his visit, a week-long snowstorm paralyzes the city. In fact the snow receives so much emphasis that it makes it what I like to call an environmental novel (like The Shipping News) where the environment is almost a character in the novel.

So the narrator is a small-time poet. (Are there any big-time poets left?) He’s also obsessed with examining his level of happiness, deliberately trying to improve his happiness, and we all know where that leads.

There’s a lot of political intrigue. Turkey is struggling to remain a Muslim, yet secular state. There is a lot of police tyranny and censorship. The prisons offer equal opportunity confinement and torture for Kurds, communists, and Islamic fundamentalists. “…three days, that’s all it takes, three days and they’re dead: gone, shot, forgotten.”

The narrator makes a point of telling us about his belief in a geometry of opposites. We see this several times: his old flame has a sister; one sister is very modern and one is a fundamentalist. We have atheists and religious fanatics. We are told that old Marxists and communists make good religious zealots when they convert.

One intriguing theme discussed a couple of times; Are strongly-held religious and political beliefs a luxury for the rich? Or are they the only consolation available to the poor? The blurbs are right in telling us this is a very political novel. It’s dense with themes, and overly long (it could be cut by a third) but still a good read.


Written in 2002, this novel predates Pamuk’s winning of the Nobel Prize in 2006. The Goodreads blurb says “Snow, which he describes as “my first and last political novel” was published in 2002. In this book set in the small city of Kars in northeastern Turkey he experimented with a new type of ‘political novel,’ telling the story of violence and tension between political Islamists, soldiers, secularists, and Kurdish and Turkish nationalists. Snow was selected as one of the best 100 books of 2004 by The New York Times.” Snow is the second-most popular book of the author (1952-) in English translation after My Name is Red.

Top photo of Kars in the snow from theturkishcuisine.com
The author from m.bianet.org
Profile Image for Jaidee.
582 reviews1,114 followers
November 28, 2021
5 " provocative, desolate, yearnful" stars !!!

10th Favorite Read of 2017 (tie)

To read Snow is to laugh loudly and cry quietly.

Kars, a small city in northeast Turkey, a backwater that had glory days and multiple conquerings over the centuries. There are Turks, Kurds, Azeris and a few Russians. Most of the men are unemployed and spend their days in teahouses discussing politics and religion. They are demoralized and oppress their women and children.

Ka is a poet of Turkish descent who now lives in Frankfurt and is a political exile. He comes to Kars to investigate the suicides of young Muslim women for a German newspaper and becomes embroiled in a world that used to be familiar and now so foreign. He is both revered and disdained by the townspeople and falls madly in love with Ipek, an old college friend that is separated from her husband who is running for mayor. The plot gets more and more complicated and farcical but not just in a funny way, in a convoluted way that speaks to the nature of identity, ethnic strife, fundamentalism, poverty and gender relations. So much happens in three days and you feel the sadness and despair permeate your being along with guffaws at the ridiculousness of men trying to make sense of their world and fear for women who are trying to survive and be safe.

The story is complex, beautiful and you reflect on your own existence and wonder if you are living the fullest life that you have available to you.

I very much look forward to reading more of Mr. Pamuk's work.
Profile Image for Nate.
500 reviews48 followers
February 10, 2017
Nine Reasons I (strongly) disliked this book:

1. The author made himself a character in his story. I just don't like that. I always wonder if they had writer's block and couldn't invent a fictional character to take the reins.

2. A snowflake diagram of poetry is involved. I'll say no more.

3. The men in this novel are whiny, infantile, and fall in love with every woman they encounter.

4. In the same paragraph the female lead character is described as seething in hatred and laughing adoringly at the whiny, infantile male main character.

5. This story has no cohesion. Things happen to the main character without foreshadowing. The exposition that did come was mainly philosophical and seemingly tangential. And if I have to read another sentence about whether a Muslim woman should wear a scarf or not or how beautiful and terrifying snow can be, I will go batty.

6. I did not understand the motivations behind most of the characters' actions. This may be because I'm ignorant to the social intricacies of the Turkish realm. But this book did not help me to care.

7. As a fellow poet, I hated that the main character wrote 19 poems throughout the novel, but the reader never got to read any of them. This point is explained in the story, but it still bugged me.

8. The author inexplicably tried his hardest to make the novel seem like a biography even though A NOVEL is featured prominently on the cover.

9. From this novel I am to presume that every Turkish woman is profoundly beautiful and that Turkish men can only drag themselves after these creatures in the hope of being noticed.

Bonus reason: two years later I'm still angry I read this book!
Profile Image for BlackOxford.
1,081 reviews68.1k followers
April 10, 2019
An Aorist Country

Religion is rarely about dogma or belief and almost always about membership in a group and the feeling of belonging it creates. Snow is an absurdist novel about religion as community and its communal conflicts.

The protagonist, Ka, is a sort of thirty-something adolescent who finds himself in a blizzard, in love, in a state ruled by paranoia, and in the midst of a local revolution begun by a provincial theatre-group (remarkably like a Turkish version of Heinrich Boll's Clown). This constitutes his isolated but very god-like, omniscient community: "In Kars everyone always knows about everything that’s going on."

But Kars, situated as it is in Eastern Turkey, is hardly a single community. Its history is Russian, and Iranian, and Ottoman, and even a bit of English. Its inhabitants are Kurds, and Armenians, and Georgians and Azeris as well as Turks. And even among the ethnic Turks there are as many communities as there are distinctive interpretations of Islam.

Each of these communities, according to their members, is created by God. Various physical aspects of the Karsian world evoke God for the various communities. For example, “Snow reminds Ka of God!” Particularly its silence. But this is his community; mainly because after living as an emigre in Germany for so many years, he has no other. In Kars, he finds solace mainly because he has discovered empathy "with someone weaker than himself," namely the poor, uneducated, confused provincial Turkish folk. But that isn't how the locals see things.

The locals have a variety of religious communities from which to choose, ranging from radical Islam to secularist atheism. This latter term is not one of belief but of membership: "...that word doesn’t refer to people who don’t believe in God: it refers to the lonely ones, the people whom the gods have abandoned." That is, those who have no community.

Most of the local communities have a common enemy - the state. The state, since the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, has attempted to replace rather than include local communities within itself. But it is merely a source of what we have come to know in the age of Trump as 'fake news.' Moreover, also as in the Trumpian vein, the state is an aspiring religion, with the sovereign power that all other religions would like to have. It uses this power and legal violence to present a binary choice to the population: ‘My Fatherland or My Headscarf.’

The intractable conflict created by this situation isn't new in Turkey (nor for that matter in America). It existed even in the Empire. In part Pamuk expresses this through constant historical flashbacks and frequent narrative references like 'later I found out' or 'eventually we learned.' But he also captures the repetitive character of Turkish life through an ingenious literary technique that probably can't be rendered exactly in English.

Like Classical Greek, Turkish has a verb form, the Aorist or Habitual, which, although expressed in English, isn't explicit. The Aorist aspect is one of timeless repetition. It connotes past and future as well as present. The sense of the Aorist can be shown most simply in the crude English expression 'shit happens.' It doesn't just happen now; it has always happened and it always will. Turkey is the ancient, empoverished, embattled city of Kars, writ large, with its "endless wars, rebellions, massacres and atrocities." Shit just keeps happening.

The American version hasn't been written yet but it's long overdue.
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.5k followers
February 17, 2020

The expatriate poet Ka returns to his native Turkey ostensibly to investigate a growing number of suicides among "head scarf girls" for an article in a German newspaper, but actually to reconnect with the beautiful divorcee Ipek whom he knew in college. While there, he is caught up in religious and political intrigue.

I thought the book was too long, and the characters didn't interest me much, but I really liked the way Nobel prize winner Pamuk creates the atmosphere of the small city of Kars (and its many kinds of people) during a great snowstorm. I also liked the way he portrays the Islamists of Turkish culture--and the secular revolutionaries and artists as well--as fiercely Romantic individualists who are angry at the West--above all other things--because we refuse to recognize and respect the individuality of their religious passion.
Profile Image for Mutasim Billah .
112 reviews193 followers
August 9, 2020
“It was as if he were in a place that the whole world had forgotten; as if it were snowing at the end of the world.”

My first foray into Pamuk territory, Snow is a book about an exiled poet returning to his hometown under the pretense of writing a journalistic article on a suicide epidemic. In his hometown of Kars, our poet encounters snow: a snowfall that changes things for him forever.

A blizzard
A military coup
A theatrical massacre
Encounters with love and betrayal
Violent fundamentalists and their pride
And, a man who has found poetry within himself

Here we have a book where there is a lot happening. I won't say that it is fast-paced as it takes time to finally pace up but once it does, the drama and the surge of events catch you off-guard. In hindsight, the book is very relevant considering the recent failed coup in Turkey in 2016. I found the drama to be a bit overbearing at times and the scenes can have an absurdist element to it that doesn't come very naturally from Pamuk. Yet, I found the book to be a refreshing read. I'll be looking forward to reading more from the writer.
Profile Image for Sawsan.
1,002 reviews
June 22, 2022
يدخل أورهان باموك عالم السياسة المزعج
يحكي الواقع بتناقضاته وإشكالياته ومظاهره الحقيقية والمُصطنعة
ينتقل باموك بين التيارات السياسية والعرقية المتصارعة في تركيا
العلمانيين والإسلاميين والعسكريين والأكراد
كل تيار يحشد أتباعه في مواجهة الآخر تبعا لقناعات ومصالح مختلفة
تدور الأحداث في مدينة قارص التي يصل إليها الشاعر "كا" في فترة انتخابات البلدية
ومع نزول الثلج عليها لعدة أيام تنعزل المدينة المهمشة بين الثلج والانقلاب العسكري
من خلال الشخصيات بانتماءاتهم المختلفة يتناول باموك الهوية الفكرية المُتغيرة
والهوية الدينية ما بين الإيمان والإلحاد
ومفردات الحب والشِعر والسعادة في واقع الفقر والبؤس والقمع
الرواية مميزة وخاصًة في الحوار, وتركيبة السرد التي يحضر الكاتب نفسه فيها
Profile Image for Darcy.
41 reviews187 followers
November 4, 2007
Profile Image for PamG.
818 reviews485 followers
January 22, 2021
Snow by Orhan Pamuk is literary fiction that brings some tough themes to the reader. Political intrigue, philosophy, romance, secularism, religious fanaticism, East-West relations, radicalism, Western ideals, suicide, murder, and torture are all explored in this novel.

Ka is a Turkish poet who has recently returned to Turkey from Germany after 12 years as a political exile. While he comes back for his mother’s funeral, he also heard that a girlfriend has recently divorced her husband and heads to Kars, their home town. He arrives during a blizzard and the roads and trains are closed. Ka tells people that he is in town as a journalist to do stories on the municipal elections and on the young women who have been committing suicide in Kars. What happens next is somewhat eventful, but also very introspective.

Unfortunately, Ka is an annoying character and very immature for his age. The star character is the city itself. Kars is an actual city in northeast Turkey. Through the novel, we learn something of its history. Due to its location, the city has had a turbulent past and is something of a fusion of nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities. The world-building was fantastic and I was able to clearly picture the snowbound city. The story line had great potential and does reflect on some contemporary issues, but felt more like vignettes than a cohesive novel.

While this book is much more about telling than showing during a large part of it, readers do get glimpses of poverty, hopelessness, anger, regrets, freedom of thought, the loss of innocence, and loneliness, and the search for happiness along with the other themes mentioned above. It is researched well and reasonably well-written, but somewhat slow.

If you enjoy politics, learning about other countries and cultures, and/or slice of life novels, then this may be one you wish to consider. This book is very relevant to today.

Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and are not biased in any way.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,545 followers
May 29, 2018
Pamuk's description of the delicate (and frequently upset) balance between secular and religious fanaticism in modern Turkey is a gripping story. It is told from a pseudo-autobiographical viewpoint (like DFW's The Pale King) and follows the (mis)adventures of the exiled poet Ka in his return to a town visited in his youth near the Armenian and Georgian borders of eastern Anatolia. The characters are drawn in a deeply compelling manner and there is so much happening that one is surprised at the relatively short lapse of time covered by the events in the book. While primarily a narrative, it sheds essential light on the struggles against radical Islam and is even more revelant now in light of the failed coup in Turkey in July 2016.
Profile Image for hadashi.
92 reviews1 follower
March 16, 2021
This novel has won a zillion prizes, and has received deafening international acclaim for the way it takes on the "clash of the Islamic fundamentalist East & secular West while retaining the humanity of its characters." I DISAGREE.
The book starts out fine, but it devolves into this really odd stream-of-consciousness craziness that feels like a fever dream and makes little sense of events at the end. In addition, the narrator keeps telling you what’s going to happen – big stuff, like deaths, etc. – and if it was supposed to focus me and keep me from being distracted wondering what was going to happen, it did the exact opposite. I ended up skimming the last third because I was so annoyed with how all plot tension was gone, the protagonist was quickly becoming a snivelly annoyance, and – here’s my main beef – no poems. Ka’s whole character hinges on the fact that he’s been blocked for all his years in the West, and when he comes “home” he has this rush of nineteen poems that just flow out of him. A great deal of time is spent talking about them and dissecting them, but because the green notebook he wrote them in is never found, we never get to actually read them. I find this to be a cheap, lame, cheater literary trick that shirks responsibility. The plot structure even would have allowed at least one poem to be printed, but why couldn’t Pamuk have done even that?
The one thing that struck me was listening to characters wrestle with the idea of God and His relationship to life, and even that was presented as either fanaticism or a mind-salve for miserable people – nothing joyful or life-affirming.
Profile Image for Biron Paşa.
144 reviews190 followers
March 14, 2018
Orhan Pamuk'un -bence- yazarlık kariyerindeki dönüm noktalarından biri olan, 2002 yılında çıkan Kafkaesk bir siyasi roman. Kitabın tam çıktığı yıldan itibaren Türkiye siyaseti eşine az rastlanır bir biçimde kimlik olarak tam tersine dönse de, kişilik olarak çok değişmediğini görmek için de güzel bir eser.

Edebiyat siyasetten önce gelir, önce edebiyatı konuşalım. Orhan Pamuk Türkiye'de söyledikleri pek ciddiye alınmayan, çok konuşulan ama hiç dinlenmeyen biri olsa da, her zaman toplumu analiz etme, tanıma, anlama işine önem vermiştir ve tüm kitaplarında da bunların izlerini görürüz.

Ben Orhan Pamuk'un yazarlığını kabaca üçe ayırabileceğimizi düşünüyorum, ilk dönemi, yani ilk üç eseri Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları, (bu arada Orhan Pamuk siyasi bir roman yazmaya başlamış, sonra darbe olunca yarım kalmıştır, kitapta da darbe olduğu için. Kar ile ne kadar alakalı merak ediyorum) Sessiz Ev ve Beyaz Kale yazarın tarzını bulmaya çalıştığı romanlar ve bunlarda Orhan Pamuk'un Türkiye sosyolojisini arka planda işlediğini görürüz.

İkinci dönemi, kendi tarzını bulduğu ve benim en sevdiğim dönemi. Kara Kitap, Yeni Hayat, Benim Adım Kırmızı romanlarında görüyoruz bunu ve deneysel, okuyucuyu zorlayan (bence öyle değil ama insanlar zorlanıyor garip bir şekilde) bir tarzı var. Burada yine doğu-batı çatışmasının müthiş bir şekilde işlendiğini görüyoruz, ki ben bu mevzunun üstüne kafa yorulmadan Türkiye'nin anlaşılamayacağını düşünüyorum.

Üçüncü dönemi, Kar ile başlayan ve Kırmızı Saçlı Kadına kadar gelen, deneyselliğin görece azaldığı, dilin görece basitleştiği ve toplumla ilgili meselelerin çok daha güçlü bir şekilde işlendiği dönem. Masumiyet Müzesi bir aşk romanı, evet, ama aynı zamanda yakın tarihin, ahlak kurallarının, Türkiye'de kadın olmanın da alttan alta işlendiği bir roman. Orhan Pamuk'un "İlk feminist romanım" dediği Kafamda Bir Tuhaflık, Türkiye'de pek ses getirmedi, ama Orhan Pamuk'un yalnızca büyük bir edebiyatçı olmadığının kanıtı. Konya'dan İstanbul'a gelen sıradan bir bozacının, yani muhafazakar bir Ak Partili'nin hikâyesi. Sekülerler ile mütedeyyin kesimin iletişiminin tamamen koptuğu, kimsenin birbirini dinlemediği, anlamadığı bir dönemde, sekülerlerin içinden biri çıkıp "Ben muhafazakar birine şefkatle yaklaşarak onu anlamak istiyorum," diyor. Bunun ne kadar önemli olduğu elbet bir gün anlaşılacaktır, ama bu kitap hak ettiği değeri kesinlikle görmedi. Aynı şekilde Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın da, bireysellik ile cemaate dahil olmak arasındaki farkları tarihsel olarak işliyor. Ben bunun da Türkiye toplumunu anlamanın en önemli basamağı olduğunu düşünüyorum. Çünkü bütün hareketlerimizi, düşünme biçimimizi belirleyen esas şeyin bu ayrım olduğunu düşünüyorum. İşin esas çarpıcı tarafı da
bunu bir tarafa Oidipus'u, bir tarafa Rüstem ile Sührab'ı koyarak yapıyor. Yani üç günlük bir mesele olmadığını anlatıyor. Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın'da da Türkiye'de kadın olma meselesini görüyoruz.

Orhan Pamuk her zaman içinde yaşadığımız toplumu anlamaya çalışmış, tek tek bizlerin meydana getirdiği, ama aynı şekilde tek tek bizi meydana getiren şeyi çözümlemeye çalışmış. Bilhassa son dönemlerinde bu meseleyi ciddi ciddi dert ettiğini düşünüyorum. Kar'ın da bu perspektiften okunması gerektiğini düşünüyorum, böyle okunursa kitap hakkını bulacaktır.


Kar'da Şair Ka'nın yıllarca batıda kaldıktan sonra bir anda siyasetin tam ortasına, Kars'a düşüşünü, yolunu bulma çabasını okuyoruz. Siyasal İslamcılarla da görüşüyor, Kemalistlerle de. İnsanların cemaatlere nasıl katıldığını da görüyoruz, bir darbe yapmanın ne kadar kolay olduğunu da. Aynı mesafeden iki tarafı da görüyor, iki tarafı da eleştiriyor, analiz ediyor. Ve daha çok onların içindeki masumiyeti, çocuksu tarafı ortaya çıkarıyor. Masumiyet Müzesi'nin masumiyetinin nereden geldiği sorusuna, "Birlikte, hiç konuşmadan dalgın dalgın televizyona bakabilmenin masumiyeti bu" diyordu Orhan Pamuk. Kar'da da, işkenceci Mit'çisi de, katil siyasal islamcısı da, hapse girmiş yaşlı solcu da oturuyor ve o televizyonu, bir pembe dizi olan Marianna'yı izliyor. Onların saflığını, masumiyetini kitabın tamamında görebiliyoruz.

Yine birey-cemaat ikilemini görüyoruz ve bence Orhan Pamuk'un dile getirdiği en önemli tespitlerden biri de bununla alakalı: Türkiye'de (ve muhtemelen tüm dünyada) Allah'a inanmanın, bir sosyal sınıfa dahil olma kaygısıyla alakalı olduğunu söylüyor Pamuk. Türkiye'den Tayyip Erdoğan nasıl çıkıyor sorusunun cevabı bu tespitle ilişkili. Erdoğan'ın daha geçen gün söylediği "Dine güncelleme" meselesini de bu perspektiften yorumlamak mümkün.

Aynı şekilde doğu-batı arasındaki çatışmayı görüyoruz. Batının demokrasi elbisesini doğulu bir bedene giydirdiğimizde olan şeyleri görüyoruz.

Kar'ı okumadan Türkiye'yi anlamak ne kadar mümkün bilmiyorum. Türkiye'nin umutsuzluğunu, insanların bölünmüşlüğünü ve bölünmüşlüğünün sebeplerini, dünyaya bakış açılarının farklılığını görüyoruz. Bu kitapta Türkiye'nin bütün meseleleri var sanki. Yazılacak, söylenecek daha çok şey var. Kar'ı anlatmak zor. Bu kitabı okuyunca birinin neden siyasal islamcı (her ne kadar bugün bu tabiri kullanmasak da) olduğunu anlayabiliyoruz ve bunu sürekli birilerini ötekileştirmeye çok alıştığımız halde yapabiliyoruz.
Profile Image for Zinta.
Author 4 books234 followers
January 5, 2009
I read a few sample pages of Snow in the bookstore, drawn by its blurry, snowy cover; drawn by a recent New York Times review; drawn by its non-westernized roots in Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk; drawn, too, by curiosity at this recent Nobel Prize winner for literature. The first few pages mesmerized me, the scene of a Turkish poet riding a bus through the snow capturing my imagination even as I left the bookstore.

"The silence of snow, thought the man sitting just behind the bus driver. If this were the beginning of a poem, he would have called the thing he felt inside him the silence of snow..."

Snow never stops falling throughout this lengthy novel, and indeed becomes a barometer of the human condition. "Snow" is also the title of a poetry collection the Turkish poet, Ka, writes over its time span. A diagram of a snowflake is his diagram of his core self, with branches into imagination, reason and memory. As snow gathers over the events of the story, it becomes at times a blizzard, at other times a gentle white blanketing over a trampled earth.

Ka is traveling to the city of Kars to write an article about an epidemic of suicides among young Turkish women. As the force of westernization has entered the predominantly Muslim city, these young women have been "freed" to discard their head scarves. Their religious beliefs, however, are such that to bare their heads in public is more than they can bear--they would rather die. While investigating the suicides, Ka meets recently divorced Ipek, and he is instantly enthralled. The ensuing story is as much one of political rebellion as it is love story, complete with executions, betrayals, love found and love lost, and mysteries never quite solved.

I've grown up on European literature, with its dense and intricate plotlines, stories with no particular rush to reach conclusion and no linear path in getting there, in contrast to the fast-paced western literature with spare plotlines, quick action, and neatly wrapped-up endings. Of course, there are exceptions, but when I am in the mood to sink deep into a multi-layered tome, I choose non-western literature, and when I want a quick tap-dance of literary skill, I choose American literature. Each has its own pleasures. Snow is no exception. I enjoyed this blizzard, even if at times I lost sight of the path for all the white stuff.

Even the love story reminded me of the difference in the expression of love in different cultures, with Ka's falling into something nearing a worshipful obsession, immersing himself whole into the object of his affection--while a westernized love story would be more geared toward seduction and conquest, less about the dance of courtship and romance. There is surrender to the heart with nothing left in reserve in non-western literature that fascinates me. Do or die. Love or leave. For this reason alone, I enjoy reading literature by a variety of international authors; each provides a view into a varied perspective and life sense.

In any culture, however, the human heart breaks for the same reasons. We read of Ka's devastation at learning his beloved has betrayed him with another--from this heartbreak is seeded a suspicion of murder (did Ka or didn't he?). The scene of confrontation between Ka and Ipek is perhaps the novel's most moving: hearts are shattered even as they continue to find comfort in each other's arms, a fatal mix of love threaded with hatred, and finally released by the chill of apathy. Pamuk writes of the complexities of love as far more baffling than reason alone might explain, and each time as unique as a snowflake.

Snow is not a quick read. Nor is it an easy one. Like Ka's love, it requires immersion and a certain degree of surrender. It is a skilled and often marvelous novel, even if I am not convinced it is worthy of the Nobel. I would say not. Yet it is worth the effort to move through this snowfall, if only for the occasional moment of sheer literary mastery.
Profile Image for بثينة العيسى.
Author 22 books25.4k followers
May 25, 2015
رواية قديرة. استحقت كل ساعة أمضيتها معها. التجريب الذي مارسه باموق هنا في الكتابة بالصوت العليم، الذي هو في الباطن صوتٌ ذاتي، عظيمة. والشخوص المتراوحة ما بين قطبين متضادين، الشخوص المركبة والغنية والخصبة.. يستطيع المرء أن يكتب لأجلها كتبًا.

Profile Image for Spider the Doof Warrior.
433 reviews238 followers
December 23, 2018
Say you pay 100 dollars for good seats at a show. You're so excited and full of anticipation. You sit down in your seat and hear the familiar strains of the instruments tuning.
Only for the ensemble to sit, instruments in their hand doing absolutely nothing for 4 minutes and 33 seconds! 4 minutes and 33 seconds of COUGHING, fidgeting and someone shouting "When are they going to start?"
This is how this book is to me. You think it's going to be brilliant because it won a Nobel prize. Surely it should be excellent? The best book you've read full of interesting characters that come alive on page and draw you into the book.

Well, you're not going to get that from this book. You'll get the narrator going on and on about snow, about how beautiful Ipek is and even what seems like it would be interesting; the conflict between religion and secularism, women's rights and poetry IT'S NOT! Because this book focuses on the dull, bland main character Ka.

Also, worse crime of all AUTHOR SELF INSERTION!

Trying to read this book again. It still sucks! I still can't stand it! The writing. The characters! Everything about it annoys me. I thought Saints by Orson Scott Card was annoying.


Making the horrible mistake of trying to read this book again. It's awful. Bad enough you'd die of alcohol poisoning drinking the weakest alcohol if you drank every time you saw the word snow in this book but I am at a part where an extremist takes a gun to a principal and goes on and on about head scarves and how girls wearing headscarves will keep them from being raped or harass. He goes on about how headscarves help a man respect a woman.

But you should respect women as people in the first place and NOT rape or harass them whether they're in a bikini or naked or covered from head to toe! Men are not evil rape beasts who have to harass every woman they see unless she covers her hair.

UGH! I despise this book!

Another thing that sucks about this book is it's a sausage fest. It's like all the interesting stuff about these young girls gets pushed aside and no one cares about them. The rest of the women and girls in this are just props or love interests to obsess over. Not real complete people. Avoid this like a plague. A plague would be easier to deal with than reading this damn book.

December 21, 2018
So because I clearly hate myself i read this book again.
It's still terrible.
How is every single character in this book obnoxious and annoying? Every woman just exists as some man's fantasy. Men in this book think they are in love because they see a pretty woman and go *boing* you are not in love, Ka, you're just horny! You don't even know this woman. You re like, come with me to Frankfurt. Ok, and what will you do for her? She has to leave her elderly father which you made go out on a dangerous mission so you could have bad sex with his daughter! You just want a mother you can make love to! All through the book Ka sees people get killed, sees the body of teenagers and all he can think about is sex with Ipek!
Then you have the narrator who is the author inserted into this book. I swear the people of Kars, Turkey need to collectively kick his butt for how their town was portrayed by him. It's bad enough that in Saga Hazel knows things that make me go how do you know that, you were an infant and you weren't there but Saga has fascinating characters. This book doesn't. Especially the author who confesses his love to his own fictional woman.
Who does that
Why did this book win a Nobel prize? It pains me! The constant mention of snow. The conflicts that make me scream IF SHE WANTS TO WEAR HER HEAD SCARF LET HER WHY IS THIS EVEN AN ISSUE?! Don't marry your daughters off to icky old men. Being an atheist doesn't make you a bad person. Stop being so smug, Blue, you're not even supposed to have premarital sex, you are Muslim! And you had sex with 2 sisters and one sister's friend. Why the hell did they even like you so much?
How is it believable that this actor staged (heh) a coup like this? Over a dozen people get shot and everyone is so nonchalant about it all. It seems more dreamlike than realistic.
And what kind of a friend tells the entire world what kind of porn his friend liked? A real bro would delete his bro's browser history.
And even tho Orhan got one poem down we don't get to see it. We don't get to see any of these perfect poems Ka wrote and it angers me so much. Why mention them in the first place if they won't even actually be in the book? Or is it because the writer can't write poems or get a poet friend to write them for him?
Plodding through this book is like trying to walk through 5 feet of snow when you're 5 3 1/2. Unpleasant! And the SNOW gets into your shoes and your clothes and home is 3 miles away and it's still snowing and you're just going to drown in snow and freeze to death but that ok because at least you're not reading this awful book.

Also Ka is just an irritating incel
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Liza Bolitzer.
12 reviews6 followers
September 3, 2007
I have to say, it's been a while since I liked a novel as much as this one and it's been even longer that I've had the chance to lie on a beach and read for a week, so I will say that you may want to take this review with a grain of sand. Pamuk reminded me of what really defines a novel, what moves it beyond a series of events and into a world and Pamuk's Kars is certainly its own world, full of characters whose degree of nuance is exactly as deep as those in a real place--in life you don't know everyone well and so to should it be in a novel. But if what makes a novel a novel is the creation of a world, what makes a novel good is the creation of a tone, a space, a way of seeing the world that reaches outside and it is this quality which I really loved. It's hard to describe, and I think the Russians do it best, Gogol in particular, but Pamuk constantly maintains a funny sadness that is neither light nor depressing. I am sure there is a word for this in some language, but it is complete and it made me forget that I was reading at many points. However, it is also distinct enough that I can see how not everyone would love it. You have to read for the humor, indulge the poetry (this is not a veiled language reference, I mean the actual poetry in the text) and take the characters just seriously enough to care but not to mourn. So maybe, just to indulge my english teacher self once more, what makes a novel great is also this quality--it must be singular enough to be disliked and good enough to love.
Profile Image for Sidharth Vardhan.
Author 23 books687 followers
January 14, 2018
"To play the rebel heroine in Turkey, you don't pull off your scarf, you put it on"

If you were interested in the whole controversy raised by ban of veil in France a few years ago, then this book too might interest you. It is based on real events in a modern and secular Turkey. Here too there is a ban on wearing head-scarves in universities and like, though this is in a country where the majority of the population is Muslim but rulers are still liberals (or rather ultra-liberals). As a consequence several innocent religious women are deprived of their right to education and, forced to choose between education and religion; they end up committing suicide. What made their misfortune worse is the guilt they must have carried to graves since Koran prohibits suicide. And so, in a way, they must have felt condemned by the very religion they were fighting for.

To me, the book shows that the dangers of ultra-liberalism. Liberals should and must fight for the oppressed - Turgut Bey, a liberal who is also one of the better characters, argues "It's not enough to be oppressed, you must also be right". I find Kadife more agreeable who puts on scarf, not for religious reasons but to protest against an unjust law. Here liberals are causing the oppression by forcing their values on unwilling people.

Most people sort-of get married with their religious beliefs over time, to force them to leave behind their religion is like forcing a drug addict to abandon his drugs. To begin with, it is inhumane. Next, it is too late - it will create a lot of pain and you probably won't succeed. And even if you did, religion (or drug) will leave behind a void (a sort of need it has created in person for itself) and the person will never be comfortable. Marx was right when he said religion is the opium of masses. It is the case here.

The suicides are, of course, turned into political symbols. Some good religious young men disturbed by what is being done to women took to revolt. Pamuk managed to humanized one such young man by making him tell the protagonist about his love for a girl who had committed suicide and his own wish to be a science fiction writer.
Profile Image for Niledaughter.
83 reviews340 followers
May 6, 2010
I read excellent reviews here ; which convinced me that I can not add any new ! but since I am a Muslim & An Arab ; I could feel a lot of the depth of this book which showed me Turkey with a very cruel -but caring- anatomy that even the brilliant sarcasm made it more painful! By considering this fictional book as a new and useful approach for me to what are not so far different wounds from ours ; I will write my words …

For me ; it is a magnificent novel , a heart breaking one ; discussing the contemporary Turkish conflict between political Islam , tradition & even on a bigger scale .. the national identity - from a side and secularism , modernization & westernization - from the other side . this conflict was presented in the novel by fanatics from both sides producing a complete bloody chaos , with the poverty & unemployment as the main feeder for its continuity ! but this analysis - which is done by both: a political & a philosophical methods - was not dry , it Was sensed through icons ..people .. lives that I can feel , get closer to & share the darkness they had in 3 days of isolation to its extreme , Yes .. the main events took place in only 3 days ! so the novel has a slow melody , but even though ; it is full of unexpected turns !

with Orhan almost taking no sides .. no right or wrong , he let me assume what I want & try to answer the un-answered questions !

Orhan is not easy to read , I stopped at his intellectual conversations a lot ; doing my best to understand . I loved his characters with their human weakness , confusion & passion , I will never forget Ka with his loneliness & desperation ..regrets & his sad love story , or his words :
”Here I am , abandoned & wasting away . I carry the scars of unbearable suffering on every inch of my body . sometimes I believe it’s not just you I’ve lost, but everything in the world “

I can not stop thinking of Blue ! how much he angered me & confused me ! His statement :”When the Ayatollah Khomeini said that (the most important thing today is not to pray or fast but to protect the Islamic faith ) I believed him �� may explain the huge range of confusing contradictions about how a religion can be manipulated with ! I could not totally hate him nor avoiding feeling sorry for his destiny , because of the blurring facts around him that leads to the uncertainty about the other face of any coin !

And the most of all :I will keep wondering about Ipek and Kadife ; their weird relation! And the feminine role in general ; keeping in mind that the suicide girls is a main debate in this novel .

I think this novel will stay with me for a long time , just keeping me wonder & cry ..?!
Profile Image for Cheryl.
464 reviews592 followers
February 13, 2018
And the quiet of this empty city was as if the world had come to an end, and it was snowing.

If this were the beginning of a poem, he would have called the thing he felt inside him the silence of snow.

He walked the city in the cold, alone with his poems. Around him, snowflakes formed a blanket of white silence. He traversed Kars, a remote city in Turkey, where he found the poor forgotten, where democracy he saw was nonexistent and the Western world shunned. He, a prodigal son, never fully welcomed, a loner misunderstood, a man with the sort of angst only seen clearly through poetry. There, like the snow, he walked the city quietly, thoughtfully, observantly, deliberately, and Kars became his muse.

But- just as the poem itself defies easy explanation - it is difficult to say how much he decided at that moment and how much of his life was determined by the hidden symmetries this book is seeking to unveil.

Can one ever know the underpinnings of a man's heart when he is in love with a woman at the same time he is in love with the art of poetry? What explains best the shards of a person's soul when he is faced with a home no longer familiar, a city no longer his, a woman who was never his, a mindset unique from that of his peers? Loneliness and despondency are certainly themes in this book, as Ka is faced with those darkening thoughts, even as he experiences moments of euphoria. Politics and religion are bigger themes threaded in each chapter and the socio-political-economic climate unfolds with consistency. This is not the easiest book to maneuver, not the simplest unfolding of plots, but it certainly is intriguing to visit the mind of a political exile, to visit the daily lives of characters trapped behind vocal cages within their own homeland.
Profile Image for Rafał Hetman.
Author 2 books926 followers
September 3, 2021
To historia iście kafkowska. Już samo imię, którego używa główny bohater, ma coś z Kafki. Nazywa się Ka, a stąd przecież blisko do Józefa K.

Bohater śniegu, jak bohater "Zamku" Kafki, przyjeżdża we własnej sprawie, ale porywa go prąd wydarzeń. Ka próbuje realizować swoje plany, podejmuje własne decyzję, ale Kars, miasto, do którego dotarł, wciąga go coraz głębiej, jakby zabierając podmiotowość.

W tym wciąganiu miasto jest niezwykle intensywne i konsekwentne, co na początku wydawało mi się nierealistyczne, bo jak to jest, że pierwszego dnia pobytu Ka poznaje wszystkie niemal najważniejsze osoby w mieście, nawet te, które ukrywają się od lat i których nie mogą namierzyć służby specjalne. Ale taki jest Kars, dziwny, goteskowy, nawet magiczny, bo w jakim mieście gazeta drukowana we wtorek opisuje wydarzenia, do których dojdzie w środę?

Tylko że to jest pierwszy poziom. Drugi to genialnie pokazany problem zderzenia świata świeckiego z religijnym, fundamentalistycznym, świata liberalnego z konserwatywnym. I czy możemy mówić tu o zderzeniu, czy sprzężeniu między tymi światami?

Nigdy, w żadnym reportażu, nikt nie pokazał mi z tak wielu stron tego problemu, nie sprowokował do tyłu przemyśleń na ten temat, jak Pamuk w "Śniegu".

Co ciekawe, w tym kontekście, czytając, wiele razy myślałem o Polsce.

Polecam bardzo serdecznie.
Profile Image for Teresa.
Author 8 books783 followers
May 2, 2023
I generally get along with metafiction, but all through this work, I wondered about its uses here and waited for a payoff that didn’t arrive. If anything, the metafictional aspects thwarted suspense and revelation, and I doubt that was the author’s intent. The doubling of certain characters didn’t feel particularly useful either. But that may be because I get aggravated (and bored) with characters who fall in love, immediately, with another’s beauty, and think about it incessantly. Because of the doubling of the characters, I was exasperated (and bored) twice as much over this aspect.

One of the blurbs describes this as a “political novel” and that may be my other issue. I realize all novels are political in some way, but I don’t engage easily with the political over the personal in novels, especially when the political is fanaticism, even if a work is so-called presenting both sides. I understand this is not a story of “reality”—the way Ka writes his poems proves that. I recognize the novel’s absurdity—it felt Kafkaesque in the beginning; I also thought of Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled—but that also isn’t always to my taste and likely has a lot to do with why I didn’t fully engage with this book.

The writing itself is fine and that’s why I was able to keep reading. I noted the several references to Russian writers and their novels (that might be the most fun I had reading this), but I don’t know why they’re there.
Profile Image for Петър Стойков.
Author 2 books268 followers
January 12, 2023
Никак не е случайно, че Орхан Памук е 1. толкова известен напоследък и 2. е съден и едва не отива в затвора в Турция. Защото книгите му (ако съдя по тази), показват неща за родната му страна, които една незряла полу-демокрация като нея трудно може да признае пред себе си…

Турция от турските сериали като Листопад примерно, е Турция на цивилизованата столица, на красивите, образовани хора, на жените с пламенни погледи, облечени във Версаче и на мъжете-бизнесмени със скъпи костюми. Турция на светския живот, културата, една европейска Турция – точно такава, каквато политици и жители на тази страна им се иска тя да изглежда в очите на останалия свят. Една Турция, която съществува във фантазиите, в някои квартали на Истанбул и май никъде другаде.

Турция на Орхан Памук обаче, такава, каквато той я описва в романите си, е всъщност реалната, не кинематографична Турция. Турция на провинцията, на десетките милиони бедни, необразовани хора, на огромната безработица, на брадати мъже, които по цял ден висят в кафенето а после бият жените си. И най-вече Турция на политическата нестабилност, насилие и убийства, на вечното люшкане между Европа и Азия, между политическия ислям и войстващия марксизъм, между образоваността и фанатичния национализъм, Турция на военния режим като единствен гарант за светската и що-годе правова държава, една още непораснала и много нестабилна полу-демокрация.

Сняг не прави изключение – той е тежък, много тежък за четене. Въпросите, които повдига за турската национална, културна и политическа идентичност, за народопсихологията, за характера на турския човек и визията му за света и развитието на държавата са изключително сериозни, на фона на една леко прашна любовна история. Въпроси, които, ако съдим по реакциите на турското общество и държава към книгите на Памук, като че ли Турция все още не е готова да зададе на себе си, камо ли да започне да търси техните отговори.

И между другото, и го казвам само заради това, че тоя въпрос напоследък се обсъжда в медиите, творбите на Орхан Памук са като че ли най-красноречивото мнение за това има ли място Турция в ЕС.

Edit 2017г.: Предвид възхода на Ердоган през изминалите 8 години откак съм написал това ревю, смятам наблюденията на Памук, както и горните ми разсъждения върху тях, за особено проникновени, не че се хваля.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
33 reviews2 followers
December 12, 2007
I would not have finished this book except for reading it for the book club. I haven't been this bored by a book in a long time.
Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews4,023 followers
October 28, 2009
When Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize in 2006, his Nobel Lecture, entitled “My Father’s Suitcase” contained many passages expressing what he felt it was to be a writer, why it was that writing was essential to his life. There are a few phrases that I believe directly explain both the reasons for this novel's existence and why it is written the way it is:

"A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is...

...I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at all of you, so very, very angry at everyone..."

Orhan Pamuk's Snow puts one of his "second beings" on display in this novel, the questing, lonely poet Ka, whose story drives the action. But we are not allowed a reliable narrator, in any sense of the word. Ka himself is a wandering man in search of who he is, a man who changes his mind and opinions every moment, who is on a journey of becoming, not being. And more than that, we are getting his thoughts through the filter of the author of the novel, who calls himself, "Orhan Bey" a "friend of Ka's," and who is reconstructing this brief period in Ka's life for his novel. As he makes clear to us again and again, he can only guess at certain parts of Ka's experiences- even when we cannot see the author's voice at all, we know that he is creating this supposedly non-fictional man out of his own thoughts, dreams, memories and experiences as much as he is reconstructing events from hard evidence. And so, in a more straightforward, less mystical way, Pamuk continues the exploration into the loss of geniune voice and identity that he captured so well in My Name is Red. But here, he brings it out of a metaphysical, inner world, and out into the every day, mundane open. Although some readers may find this device somewhat ham handed (or downright annoying) and perhaps a breaking of the "show, don't tell," rule, I would argue that Pamuk's device is consistent with his existing body of work and is very effective at conveying the experience he is trying to write about here. Would one prefer to relax into the story? Sure. Is anyone here really allowed to? No. The reader gets the same experience that the characters in the novel do.

He depicts his poet Ka on a visit to Kars, a remote, decaying town (that once used to be a great provincial center) far from the cosmopolitan center of Istanbul- a symbol of Turkey's place in a Western/Euro-centric 20th and 21st century. He arrives in this town in the dead of winter, just as a large snowstorm is gathering, a storm that effectively traps him in the city until the roads open days later. This novel is the story of those few days in a community sealed off from the world. The snow means many different things to different people, and we see how that plays out over the course of these days- with results that largely end up more or less disastrous for all sides.

Ka himself was purportedly drawn to the city to write an article about the "suicide girls,"- a high number of local women and girls who had committed suicide in a very short period of time, a story that had gotten some play in Istanbul and Germany. Though his real motives have more to do with love, nostalgia and the reclaiming of a lost past (again, a pretty direct symbol of Turkey), Ka nonetheless finds himself named the "poet from the West," and runs into the gamit of local opinion on politics and society- die hard Kemalists, ex-communists, socialists, Kurdish nationalists, spiritualists, feminists, Islamic extremists, etc. Orhan Pamuk makes no bones about this being a political novel, and makes sure to show us all the elements that Turkey has to deal with as a state- a state that, mind you, proclaims all of its residents "Turks" and does not officially recognize any other identity within its state. He ends up embroiled in the machinations of everyone who fights with or against everything they believe he stands for (ie, the West), and despite all his attempts to escape (he says over and over towards the end of the book that all he wants is to be happy and get out of Kars alive), he cannot escape what is happening to him.

As usual, Pamuk deals with the problems of the East/West divide and his poor country that is caught in the middle. He has many characters beg only for some clarification of who they are and what they are- an explanation for why there are so many extremists in the area. At one point a young teenage Islamist says, "Please God, help me preserve my purity, protect my mind from confusion," as a group of political activists of all stripes attempt to come up with some sort of statement to make to "the West". (The West may seem a strangely archaic term, out of the Cold War- but this book shows how relevant it still is for many people, long past its use as a military alliance. The countries who were used as proxies in that war haven't forgotten the reasons they were given for those wars happening to them.) He also deals more generally with the problems of being a person who exists "on the periphery"- ie, anyone who doesn't live in Europe or North America.

He has one person very eloquently express this problem as he says: "When they write poems or sing songs in the West, they speak for all humanity. They're human beings- but we're just Muslims. When we write something, it's just called ethnic poetry."

Pamuk has his characters express over and over, in so many different ways, that all they want is to be human beings as well. Some people feel that that is best accomplished by trying to be as much "like the Europeans" as possible, some feel that it is best accomplished by being the opposite of everything they believe that is if only to carve out a separate identity that won't be subsumed (or "be forgotten", the fear that Pamuk expresses above) into the greater "Western" culture, some believe it is found in Islam, the religion that they believe their personhood is reduced to when viewed through outside eyes, etc etc.

This is perhaps both the biggest and most painful part of the book. No one is allowed to do or say anything without it being representative of something else, without someone feeling that they are taking sides with them or against them. Everything someone does is "for Europe" or "for Islam" or "for the Kurds". People are told the reasons that they're doing things, or think the reasons that other people think they are doing things, before they examine their own reasons. Case in point in this novel is the women- the "suicide girls" and the "head scarf girls" and their leader, Kadife, sister of the woman our poet is in love with.

Every choice these women make is discussed endlessly- one side decides for them that they did it because they were poor- and everything that comes with it. Another side decides they did it for "honor" and religion- whatever the creed they represent tells them that women are supposed to be motivated by, and unsurprisingly, the few women that we see depicted appear to be driven crazy by the experience, whether they buy into what they're being told or not. The one woman who doesn't seem to is Ipek, the woman that Ka is in love with. She is shown as being affected by every day things that we would see characters in a "Western" novel being affected by- her failure to have children, her husband's professional failures, her daddy issues, her competition with her sister, the perception that people have of her due to the way that she looks. Ka appears to be drawn to this for a number of reasons, but I think one of them is that he wants to be as outside the present as she seems to be, as detached from the ugly realities that seem to be destroying everyone else.

It is a talk heavy book for this reason- everyone seems to believe something fiercely and feels the need to repeat it over and over again, and shout it over whatever other people feel. It's an atmosphere where it is a novelty to ask questions of the other side, and preconceptions are almost always voiced before asking for answers ("I know as an atheist you must think about suicide all the time, but..." ... who in the what now?). And I think underneath all this is the recognition that not only do these people not know if they really believe what they profess to, they usually don't know what it means, why they believe it, and you know what at the end of the day: what they believe doesn't really matter anyway. They're not important enough to matter- their identity has been totally devalued. And everyone, but everyone, knows it.

It is a slow, meditative book, as you might expect from something called Snow. Expect long digressions into philosophy, spirituality, religion, politics, and long long legacies of inferiority complexes and hatreds (particularly of course, against the perceptions of Europeans and the West)- Pamuk's explanation about why everyone is "so very very angry at everyone else." It has a plot, certainly, and one that can get your heart racing at very specific moments, but it will be followed by long walks in the night grasping at something that, as Pamuk put it in his Nobel Lecture, "one never quite gets to." It is a surreal place, and it is meant to be- a city blanketed in snow far away from the rules of every day life. It can be a black comedy at times, in a very sick way- of course his characters don't even know it. They spend so much time and energy talking about how they don't want to look foolish in the eyes of foreigners, and yet the moments when some of them are the most sure are the ones that get the reader to pity them the most. Not that the book wants that either. He has his characters get a say in what they want said- no one knows what they want to say to the West, but in the end it seems to add up to the fact that they are not figments of our (and by our I mean readers in Westernized countries) imagination that can be categorized into things like poor people to help, depressed people to pity, extremists to fear or really just: Other. At one point the novelist has a conversation with a former teenage Islamist who says:

"But I can tell from your face that you want to tell the people who read your novels how poor we are and how different we are from them. I don't want you to put me in a novel like that."
"Because you don't even know me, that's why! Even if you got to know me and described me as I am, your Western readers would be so caught up in pitying me for being poor that they wouldn't have a chance to see my life. For example, if you said I was writing an Islamist science-fiction novel, they'd just laugh. I don't want to be described as someone people smile at out of pity and compassion."

Even as Pamuk gives us this slice of life in Turkey that he's deliberately shown us comes so close to reality, he reminds us again that we haven't seen the real thing and perhaps we never can see the "real thing" in each other, that our perceptions are doomed to be incomplete and fuzzy, covered in a blanket of snow.

I would recommend to anyone reading this that you find a brief summary of Turkish politics before diving in- I don't think in depth knowledge is necessary, but I do think knowing what Kemalists are, what Article 301 did, what the role of the army is, and what happened in the 2002 elections are all essential for fully appreciating what this book is. Of course one can appreciate it solely on its artistic merits, but it is a political novel that is meant to address some gaping wounds in the country, and I think that it should be respected as such, or you'll miss out on a lot. Also, patience. Lots and lots of patience.

It will pay off, though. You'll find out why everyone is so very angry in the end, and I believe that you'll find that that knowledge is very much worth the having.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Anna.
568 reviews102 followers
October 22, 2016
Το βιβλίο είναι φάση η-μικρή-Αννούλα-πήγε-στη-δημοτική-βιβλιοθήκη-και-είπε-να-γνωρίσει-τον-κόσμο. Ακολουθεί επομένως κριτική ανάλογου επιπέδου.
Από καιρό ήθελα να διαβάσω έργο του Παμούκ και με μια μικρή έρευνα που έκανα (βασικά στο goodreads) είδα ότι όλα του τα βιβλία θεωρούνται το ίδιο καλά, οπότε διάλεξα το παρόν καθαρά από θέμα τύχης (η επίσκεψή μου στη βιβλιοθήκη δεν πρέπει να κράτησε πάνω από λίγα λεπτά). Ήξερα επίσης ότι ο συγγραφέας ζει στην Κωνσταντινούπολη και νόμιζα ότι όλα του τα βιβλία διαδραματίζονται εκεί. ΚΑΜΙΑ ΣΧΕΣΗ…

Το συγκεκριμένο διαδραματίζεται στο Καρς, μια πόλη στη βορειοδυτική πλευρά της χώρας, κοντά στα σύνορα με την Αρμενία. Πρόκειται για μια μικρή πόλη περίπου 70.000 κατοίκων (κάτι σαν τη Βέροια δηλαδή), που κατοικείται από πολλές φυλές ανθρώπων (Τούρκοι, Κούρδοι, Αρμένιοι, Γεωργιανοί, Αζέροι…), για χρόνια ανήκε στη Σοβιετική Ένωση, ενώ είναι από τα εδάφη που διεκδικούν οι Κούρδοι. Επίσης απέχει από την Κωνσταντινούπολη 1,5 μέρα με το λεωφορείο και το χειμώνα έχει υπερβολικό κρύο (και χιόνι). Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες για την πόλη: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kars ή http://www.pontos-news.gr/village/102...

Την πόλη αυτή επισκέπτεται λοιπόν ο Κα, γνωστός Τούρκος ποιητής (πρόκειται για φανταστικό πρόσωπο), ο οποίος ζει ως πολιτικός εξόριστος στη Φρανκφούρτη και βρέθηκε για λίγες μέρες την Τουρκία. Πήγε στο Καρς ως απεσταλμένος μιας εφημερίδας της Πόλης προκειμένου να καλύψει τις τοπικές δημοτικές εκλογές, τις οποίες οι δημοσκοπήσεις έβγαζαν ότι θα κέρδιζε το κόμμα που εκπροσωπούσε το πολιτικό Ισλάμ. Παράλληλα, την ίδια περίοδο πολλά κορίτσια που φορούσαν μαντίλα αυτοκτονούσαν, με κοινό χαρακτηριστικό όλων ότι είχαν πιεστεί να βγάλουν τη μαντίλα τους, καθώς το κράτος ήθελε να επιβάλλει έναν πιο εξευρωπαϊσμένο τρόπο ζωής. Ο Κα επισκέπτεται την πόλη και για έναν τρίτο λόγο, προσωπικό αυτή τη φορά: εκεί μένει μια παλιά του συμφοιτήτρια, με την οποία είναι σφόδρα ερωτευμένος.

Κατά τη διάρκεια της παραμονής του στο Καρς, η οποία κράτησε 3 μέρες συμβαίνουν τα εξής παράδοξα: Πρώτον, έπεσε τόσο πολύ χιόνι που έκλεισαν οι δρόμοι, οπότε η πόλη είναι αποκλεισμένη. Δεύτερον, συμβαίνει ένα ιδιότυπο στρατιωτικό πραξικόπημα, και το χαρακτηρίζω έτσι διότι ξεκίνησε μέσα από μια θεατρική παράσταση που μεταδιδόταν από το τοπικό κανάλι σε όλη την πόλη.

Για την υπόθεση να πω μόνο ότι πέρα από την πολιτική χροιά του πράγματος, ο Κα παλεύει με όλα τα συναισθήματα που εμπνέουν έναν ποιητή (λύπη, ευτυχία, δυστυχία, ελπίδα, κατάρρευση, αγωνία, οργή), σε τόσο μεγάλο βαθμό μάλιστα που γράφει μια ολόκληρη ποιητική συλλογή. Ταυτόχρονα προβληματίζεται για όσα συμβαίνουν γύρω του και δυστυχώς καλείται να πάρει θέση και να δράσει ως μεσολαβητής ανάμεσα στις δυο ομάδες.

Όσον αφορά την πολιτική και κοινωνική χροιά… πραγματικά δεν έχω λόγια να εκφραστώ…. ας προσπαθήσω όμως με όσο πιο απλές σκέψεις μπορώ. Καταρχήν – και με αφορμή το τελευταίο πραξικόπημα του καλοκαιριού – το ζήτημα «στρατιωτικό πραξικόπημα» στην Τουρκία δεν είναι κάτι ασυνήθιστο. Η χώρα πραγματικά βρίσκεται στο μεταίχμιο της Δύσης και της Ανατολής και οι άνθρωποι είναι διχασμένοι για τον τρόπο ζωής με τον οποίο θέλουν να ζήσουν. Από τη μια η Ευρώπη με τις ιδέες του Διαφωτισμού, της αυτοδιάθεσης και τον τρόπο ντυσίματος και επιπέδου μόρφωσης (ιδίως όσον αφορά στις γυναίκες) είναι πολύ κοντά στη χώρα, Τούρκοι πολίτες ταξιδεύουν συχνά, ενώ από την άλλη το Ιράν (με την Ισλαμική Επανάσταση) και άλλες φανατικές μουσουλμανικές χώρες την περιτριγυρίζουν και φυσικά επηρεάζου�� τους κατοίκους της. Οι ισορροπίες είναι πάρα πολύ λεπτές – και φυσικά εγώ δεν θα πάρω καμία θέση – και το μεγαλύτερο πρόβλημα που εγώ εντοπίζω είναι ότι για όποιον πάρει δημόσια θέση υπέρ του ενός ή του άλλου (και δεν μιλάω για πολιτική καριέρα, ας πάρουμε για παράδειγμα έναν καλλιτέχνη) δεν υπάρχει καμία εγγύηση ότι θα ζήσει χωρίς τραβήγματα τη ζωή του, καθώς οι εναλλαγές στα καθεστώτα είναι πολλές και ενώ με το ένα καθεστώς (πχ το κοσμικό) θα ήταν ένας διανοούμενος που θα έδινε διαλέξεις, με την αλλαγή (θεοκρατικό καθεστώς) είτε θα εξοριζόταν είτε θα δολοφονούνταν.
Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες για όποιον ενδιαφέρεται παραθέτω κάποια άρθρα που διάβασα κατά τη διάρκεια της ανάγνωσης του βιβλίου:
Επίσης, για όποιον ενδιαφέρεται για τα πραξικοπήματα της Τουρκίας ένα σύντομο άρθρο

Ένα τελευταίο σχόλιο θα κάνω για το μέγεθος. Παρόλο που οι σελίδες έτρεχαν όμορφα, έκανα συχνές διακοπές για να ψάχνω περισσότερες πληροφορίες για όσα διάβαζα. Μετά μπορεί να άφηνα για ώρες το βιβλίο και ενώ ήθελα να το συνεχίσω πολλές φορές δεν με τραβούσε. Θα μου πείτε, βέβαια, δεν ήταν περιπέτεια να έχω αγωνία τι θα γίνει στη συνέχεια, και επίσης ήξερα ότι με το που θα άρχιζα θα ξανασταματούσα για να πάω στον υπολογιστή να γκουγκλάρω καινούριες πληροφορίες… περισσότερο μελέτη είναι αυτό το πράγμα παρά ανάγνωση λογοτεχνίας.

Για όποιον θέλει μια πιο διεξοδική ανάλυση του βιβλίου και του χαρακτήρα ας αφήσω τους ειδικούς να μιλήσουν http://zephyr.nsysu.edu.tw/researchce....

Για επόμενο βιβλίο του Παμούκ θα ήθελα να διαβάσω κάτι που να διαδραματίζεται στη σύγχρονη Κωνσταντινούπολη. Από μία πιο διεξοδική έρευνα μου φάνηκε ενδιαφέρον το «Μαύρο Βιβλίο» αλλά και το τελευταίο του βιβλίο «Κάτι παράξενο στο νου μου». Υπάρχουν προτάσεις;

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January 31, 2018

Etkilendiğim kitaplar, filmler ve hatta bazen şarkılar ile bağlantısı bulunan şehirler ve mekanlarda bulununca bir 'tamamlanmışlık' hissi ile doluyorum. En sevdiğim yazarlardan biri olan Orhan Pamuk'un okumaya yıllar önce Yeni Hayat ile başlamış; kitaplarını çabuk tüketmek istememiştim. Kars yolculuğum kesinleşince zihnimdeki noktalar birleşti ve gitmeden önce Kar'ı okumak istedim. Okuduktan sonra Kars'a gittiğimde ise her şeyi tek tek yaşadım, karakterleri görür gibi oldum sokaklarda.

Öncelikle romanın yazım sürecinden bahsetmek istiyorum. O. Pamuk -aslında birçok yazarın yapmış olduğu gibi- bir roman yazmadan önce oluşan fikir üzerinden araştırmalar yapan, gözlemleyen, mekanları bizzat ziyaret eden, notlar alan, hatta roman sürecinde bazı fotoğrafları cebinde taşıyan bir yazar. Kar romanını yazarken 5-6 defa Kars'a gitmiş, yaşayanlarla konuşmuş, dinlemiş hatta çoğu zaman bu sorunlar nedeniyle depresif hissettiği anlar olmuş.
Yazarın zihninde oluşan fikir için neden Kars şehrini seçtiğini gittiğimde anladım. Kars insanının Pamuk'a neler anlatmış olabileceğini, dışardan gelen birine tavırlarını, konuşmalarını kısacası 'Kars tablosunu' gördüm.

Yazarın ilk ve son siyasi romanım dediği ve sürrealist niteliği bulunan Kar, şair Ka'nın Erzurum'dan karlı bir günde Kars'a yaptığı otobüs yolculuğuyla başlıyor. İlerleyince kar ve Ka'nın düşüncelerinin paralelleştiği, bir aşk üçgeni ihtimali, karşılaşılan insanların kar taneleri gibi farklı ve eşsiz olduğu düşüncesi şiirsel bir hava ile harmanlanıyor, ayrıca bu kişiler üzerinden siyasi portreler çizilip Ka'nın da bunlardan etkilenmesi fakat yine de eşit mesafede durması hedefleniyor.
İntihar, aşk, siyasal İslam, sanat kimin içindir, şiir nedir-nasıl olmalıdır, Tanrı kavramları tartışılıyor.

Bazı yorumlar ve lisansüstü tezleri okudum. Bazen kitapların başına 'yazarın hayalgücü ile yoğurulmuştur' ibaresinin konulması gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Devamında gelen düşünce ise kurguyu gerçek hayattan ayırmanın aslında temeli olmayan bir çaba olduğunu hatırlatıyor bana.
Aslında eleştirilerin romanın siyasi niteliklerine yönelik değil de gerçeği yansıtmadığına dair olması kurgu ile gerçek hayatı birbirinden ayırmanın zorluğunu da seriyor gözler önüne. Bu noktada da en trajikomik eleştiri geliyor : anlatılanlar Kars şehrimizi kötü gösterdi, Kars böyle bir yer değil.

Bütün bunları derin ve sindirerek düşünmeyince kişiler üzerinden karalamalar yapılıyor, sanatın toplum için ve topluma yönelik olması gerekliliği (?!) savunularak yazarın zihnine saldırıda bulunuluyor, belirli siyasi düşüncelerin öne çıkarıldığı, propaganda yapıldığı hatta daha da ileri giderek yazarın Türkçe'yi kullanmayı bilmediği söyleniyor. Bütün bunları okurken başıma ağrılar girdi.

Her şeyi toplayabilecek bir alıntı yapmak istiyorum :
' Belki de hikayemizin kalbine geldik. Başkasının acısını, aşkını anlamak ne kadar mümkündür? Bizden daha derin acılar, yokluklar, eziklikler içinde yaşayanları ne kadar anlayabiliriz? Anlamak eğer bizden farklı olanın yerine koyabilmekse dünyanın zenginleri, hakimleri, kenarlardaki milyanlarca garibanı bildiler mi? Romancı Orhan, şair arkadaşının zor ve acı hayatındaki karanlığı ne kadar görebildi?
'Bütün hayatım yoğun bir kayıp ve eksiklik duygusuyla yaralı bir hayvan gibi acı çekerek geçti. Belki de sana bu şiddetle sarılmasaydım, sonunda seni o kadar kızdırmaz, başladığım yere, on iki yılda bulduğum dengeyi de kaybederek dönmezdim.' diye yazmıştı Ka. 'Şimdi içimde gene o dayanılmaz kayıp ve terk edilmişlik duygusu var, bu her yerimi kanatıyor. Bendeki eksikliğin bazan yalnız sen değil, bütün dünya olduğunu düşünüyorum.' diye yazmıştı. Bunları okuyordum, ama anlıyor muydum?'

Önemli not : Orhan Pamuk'u ilk defa okuyacaksanız, Kar ile başlamayın.

Ka gibi hayatta tek gerçeğin mutluluk olduğunu geç de olsa öğrendiğim bu Kars kentinde romandaki sokaklarda Ka gibi birlikte yürüdüğüm biri benim için arka kapaktaki binayı bularak fotoğrafımı çekti. Her insanın içsel haritası olan kar tanesinin varlığını bana bir defa daha kanıtladı.


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