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The New Life

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  6,885 ratings  ·  519 reviews
A parable about love, literature and fanaticism. A young university student becomes obsessed with a magical book that delves into the dangerous natures of love and self. Abandoning his studies and his family, he goes with the beautiful Janan on a search for the meaning of the book's darker secrets.
Paperback, 296 pages
Published 1997 by Faber and Faber (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,885 ratings  ·  519 reviews

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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Blood on the Tracks

Every one of us is a potential criminal, a potential killer, a potential murderer.

The question is: what circumstances would justify the crime, what situation would warrant us murdering someone?

If someone attacked one of our children, would we attack the assailant? If we went to war, would we kill for our country?

If the past was at war with the future, would we kill for the sake of the past, or would we kill for the sake of the future?

Well, the past is always at war with the
Ben Loory
i don't really know what to say about this one. i think i will be thinking about it for a while. i will say this: i found it both compulsively readable and boring as hell, both at the same time, all the time, beginning to end. despite all the great writers pamuk is compared to on the cover blurbs and inside (kafka, marquez, borges, proust, etc.), the writer he most reminds me of here is thomas pynchon. both come off as almost retardedly intelligent & way too clever, both are more interested ...more
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished, favorites
Read slowly.. Let the tentacular, pellucid sentences take you to the world of mystical adventure, which is clumsy yet so entrancing. Reading the second time slowly made me realize all the symmetry, puns, even autobiographical bits and pieces of the the author himself. It evokes feelings you get when you are travelling by bus to distant places, excitement and toxic exhilaration of reading good books, and awe and scepticism of the mystery of life and love.

I would certainly read this
Mohit Parikh
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lit-gems
I am done with 60% of the book and couldn't hold myself from writing something, anything, about the book, with my half-open sleepy eyes.

When I began this book, I wanted to love Pamuk. Through his interviews and talks, the reviews of his books, and my experience with Snow, I have made some strong opinions about him, which I wanted to change in the course of reading this novel. The opinions remain unscathed, so far, but I almost liked him.

Some observations so far:
1. Osman and Janan are too
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009, nobel
'I read a book one day and my whole life was changed. Even on the first page I was so affected by the book's intensity I felt my body sever itself and pull away from the chair where I sat reading the book that lay before me on the table.' Light surging from its pages illumines his face: 'Its incandescence dazzled my intellect but also endowed it with brilliant lucidity.' The book seems to be about him, so that 'my point of view was transformed by the book, and the book was transformed by my ...more
Jul 31, 2007 rated it liked it
I burned through this in two days, but partly, I have to admit because I feared if I got distracted, I'd never finish it - highly engaging at times, it didn't, for me, always sustain that level of "gotta get back to it" with which Murakami's "Kafka On The Shore" is currently calling me away from this hurried review.
Pamuk is very highly regarded, won a Nobel Prize etc, so he is certainly worth a bit of your time.
"The New Life" is a story of a young man whose life is radically changed by a book
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
After reading the opening sentence of the New Life, "I read a book one day and my whole life was changed," I wondered whether reading The New Life itself was going to change my life.

This is the story of Osman, an engineering student, who becomes obsessed with a book and falls in love with a girl, Janan, who shares the same obsession. This novel is mainly the story of their journey through Turkey, going aimlessly from city to city, searching for this new life promised by the book.

At some point,
Jul 24, 2014 rated it liked it
I am writing this short review in an airport, having just completed a three-week trip around Turkey, so bear with me as I get back into the routine of thinking about literature critically. Spookily, the parallels of The New Life and my trip remain powerfully disconcerting: the novel focuses on a mysterious book Osman reads one night and as a result, becomes obsessed with. The book is never described explicitly but its power to change the lives of all the people who read it works as the catalyst ...more

I got really into this one.

It was one of those pick-it-up-in-the-bookstore kinda things and it's funny since that's more or less what happens to the narrator.

One day he picks up a book (contents not whitholding to the reader, of course) and Kafka-like, he is never the same again.

Everything in the world around him is like a pale reflection or a crashing bore compared to what the book discloses for him. He is then, naturally, called upon to make sense of where he suddenly finds himself to search
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel-english
I moved this review to my blog
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
When Osman reads the book, his life irreversibly changes. He gives up his studies to travel. He begins a search for meaning, identity and experience. He falls in love. He finds solace in the plots of popular films he watches while travelling on overnight buses across Turkey. He suffers trauma and injury in road accidents and meets people who give him useful things, such as guns. He also examines his own imagination from the inside while responding freely to the stimuli and images that experience ...more
Paula Koneazny
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paula Koneazny by: Lisa Nakamura
I first read The New Life cerca 1997 or 1998 and fell in love with it then. I "won" the novel in an English Dept. Xmas party book exchange. The new prof of postcolonial lit (among other areas of expertise), Lisa Nakamura, at Sonoma State University was my "anonymous" gift-giver. I was prompted to reread the novel recently after a friend who read it with her book group admitted she found the writing (style)clunky and unsatisfying. (I had suggested the novel to them). One can admire Pamuk's novel ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Well, One thing I know I wanted to kill myself from boredom while I was reading this book.
Shuhan Rizwan
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
If you look closely, each of the Pamuk's novel is full of mathematical symmetries.

In this one, I could not discover those for the first 100 pages. And then, things started to fall in places.

Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I had high expectations for this book, because of "My Name is Red" which I read some time ago. At the time, I was fascinated with the world Pamuk revealed in My Name is Red, rendered in painstaking detail, as if sketched in with a 00 paint brush. Still, My Name is Red demanded attention, it was not a book you could casually browse through. So I was prepared to expend some effort, going into the New Life.

This book though, is entirely different in style - which in a way is a triumph. What's the
Mar 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Borges fans and those who like a challenging read
A year and a half ago, while making long bus journeys in Anatolia, I read Orhan Pamuk's The New Life, which is about a young man making long bus journeys in Anatolia. I found the Turkish bus system to be a lot safer than Pamuk describes it, but other than that, I recognised a fair bit, and loved the power of Pamuk's descriptions. I could easily see why the man was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize, although I ended up being somewhat underwhelmed by The New Life.

The New Life is a road
While I was reading this book, I was constantly looking out for those who have read the book. The book that lures one in to disbelief about life, death and oneself was no ordinary text. I wanted to meet those people and ask them how they felt about this extraordinary piece of wonder that has uprooted a lot of people from their dense mundane lives to a treacherous deceiving adventure influenced by madness and movies.

Come, brother, come with us,
let's you and I on the bus,
go to a land that's
Thomas Hettich
I read the book while travelling through Turkey. Although the main part of the story is set years before today, Orhan Pamuk' descriptions of the towns the protagonist visits are spot-on. The conspiracy theory of the book, which is revealed rather late and from which point much of the dramatic drive is gone - is echoed by similar thoughts of many Turks whom I met.

Overall I struggled with the book. The language stroke me as pretentious. And by not describing the contents of the text that the
Aug 11, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclubs
I found this book incredibly slow.
I understand that it wasn't originally written in English, but I found the plot very difficult to follow.
There were moments where I was starting to understand what was happening and then it seemed to go off tangent.

It ended up being a struggle to read and rather than enjoying it, I just wanted it to finish.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I give this book 2,5 Stars - 0,5 of a star for how desperate the main character wants to find the Angel, the sence of life!
Bir gün bir kitap okudum ve bütün hayatım değişti.
When you're fed up with your daily routine, you start looking for some sacral sence in everything you touch. You read a book - it gives you light and calm, you meet a girl - she seems to be an angel. You read comics and eat caramel, travel by bus in search for car crashes and accidents - you do everything to come in the
Sep 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Not sure. Had read 'Snow' of Pamuk's oeuvre last year and thought i'd try another. Don't think I was in the right frame of mind and wonder whether I needed to be on some sort of drug to really get into it. Ironically, towards the end, the narrator apologizes for a couple of sentences of purple prose; this was a tad awkward as they were two of the sentences I actually enjoyed reading. Maybe Orhan and I will never click.
Işık Cemre Güngör
This book mustn't be read quickly. I dont mean that you must start and throw it away for weeks but while you're reading New Life; you must feel a life-changing long time, the bus journeys, smells of OPA, mystery, jealousy.. and feel the excitement of what would happen letter.
Farhan Khalid
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read a book one day and my whole life was changed

Minutes and pages followed one another

The wealth, the multiplicity, and the complexity of possibilities turned into a kind of terror

The book was about me

The room was no longer the same old room, nor the streets the same streets, my friends the same friends

The book revealed to me the meaning of my existence

Never fear, never fear! The world in the book is real! But I was afraid

The next day I fell in love

Trees didn’t know they were trees, I
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Love Pamuk... But not this book
Maybe too much for this ordinary reader...
Hajar Masrour
"Life is so fractured... No matter what, things must be smashed and broken."

Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
I think I'm done with Pamuk. Same problems as with My name is red. He can write prose that flows well, but he's completely oblivious to concepts like 'focused narrative' or 'character development'. He's excruciatingly repetitive, beating a dead horse writing about the same thing over and over without saying anything new. How many times do I need to read about people smoking cigarettes, light illuminating from a book, and statues of Ataturk? Give it a rest, dude.

There are about 3 good ideas in
May 01, 2011 added it
Mixed feelings. Pamuk is a gifted writer whose talent survives translation from his native Turkish. My first encounter with him was his collection of essays "Other Colors" which is an excellent introduction to the scope of his work and his development from a student up to his award of the Nobel Prize. The book included excerpts from his novels which I have always wanted to read. This book found its way into various bargain bins with a hardback market down to $5 in one instance and $2 a year ...more
Stephen Durrant
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I guessed fairly early in this book that Rilke was echoing in the background: “Every angel is terrible.” Pamuk’s book is addressed to such an Angel, one who leads us to the “new life” of his title. For much of this novel, while I appreciated Pamuk’s poetic language and the sense of mystery he builds, I was slightly bored. But gradually the novel grew on me. It on one level renders homage to the power of books, as the narrator is caught in a fellowship of people who had read, been enchanted by, ...more
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel-winners
This book started out somewhat slowly, I thought; I was afraid I mightn't like it. Took me a while to get into it. Perhaps that was because the narrator at the beginning in rather young, and the writing is imbued with something of the impatience of youth. I guess that's a credit to Pamuk's strength as an author. But by midpoint I was hooked and glad I slogged through.

There are many typical Pamuk themes here: lost love, the cultural tensions between East and West that have marked Turkey's history
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.” Thus begins this book about a book — Turkish author Pamuk certainly is not the first to use that idea.

The protagonist, a civil engineering student at Technical University, picks up a book because he was attracted to the pretty girl who was reading it. His rapturous description of the book’s power seems facile at first, since no details are provided. Is the book about politics, religion, philosophy, what? How can one write this much about a
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هل ترى هذا الكتاب مدهش فعلا؟ 4 51 Dec 20, 2014 09:35PM  

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Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul in 1952 and grew up in a large family similar to those which he describes in his novels Cevdet Bey and His Sons and The Black Book, in the wealthy westernised district of Nisantasi. As he writes in his autobiographical book Istanbul, from his childhood until the age of 22 he devoted himself largely to painting and dreamed of becoming an artist. After graduating ...more
“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.” 4678 likes
“Sometimes I sensed that the books I read in rapid succession had set up some sort of murmur among themselves, transforming my head into an orchestra pit where different musical instruments sounded out, and I would realize that I could endure this life because of these musicales going on in my head.” 142 likes
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