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My Name Is Red

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  44,192 ratings  ·  4,038 reviews
At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, My Name Is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul, from one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish writers.

The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a gr
Paperback, 417 pages
Published August 27th 2002 by Vintage (first published 1998)
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احمد الملجمي مع رواية اسمي أحمر لم يذهب الجمال بعد، الجمال على طريقته الأولى، الأولى؛ أي في نفثهِ الأول، نفثه؛ أي يوم أن سقط إلى الأرض أول مرة.
لم تذهب الأسطُر بعد،…more
مع رواية اسمي أحمر لم يذهب الجمال بعد، الجمال على طريقته الأولى، الأولى؛ أي في نفثهِ الأول، نفثه؛ أي يوم أن سقط إلى الأرض أول مرة.
لم تذهب الأسطُر بعد، الأسطر التي تحتسي الموكا على مسرحٍ أحمر اللون، تناظر إليك وهي تمُز أطرافها مبتسمة لك، تعود كوترٍ أصدر رنينه نغمة ثم عاد إلى مكانه، بعد أن أسمعك جمالاً وطربا.
تُناديك الأحرف والكلمات، ترشقك المعاني بسحرِ وقعها، تأخذك الصفحات كفراشة أغوت الربيع فأعتقها لتوه.

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Jim Fonseca
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is as much about art as it is a historical novel.

First the novel. A tale of miniaturist painters in Istanbul during the late 1500’s. The deceased master’s daughter is in a religious and political limbo: her soldier husband has been missing for four years, but with no body and no witnesses to his death, she can’t get a divorce and move on with her life. She wants to find a new husband and a father for her two young boys and get away from the amorous intentions of her husband’s brother.
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Generally, when a book starts out with a chapter entitled "I Am A Corpse," you know it's going to be pretty good.

The novel is set up so that each chapter introduces a different narrator, including (but not limited to), Black, Black's uncle, Shekure, a dog, a horse, the murderer and various artists in the workshop. This type of structure for a mystery novel isn't new--Wilkie Collins, for example, employed it several times, most notably in The Moonstone--and it is an effective way to structure a
Jason Koivu
Nov 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
My Name is Red is as gorgeous as these illuminations.


The narrative flows with the weight of such a lush artistic style.


It is a dazzling brilliance that creates a languid beauty...


...that bogs the story down so much I couldn't tell you what the fuck happened.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Benim Adım Kırmızı = My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk

My Name Is Red is a 1998 Turkish novel by writer Orhan Pamuk translated into English by Erdağ Göknar in 2001.

Pamuk would later receive the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. The novel, concerning miniaturists in the Ottoman Empire of 1591, established Pamuk's international reputation and contributed to his Nobel Prize. The influences of Joyce, Kafka, Mann, Nabokov and Proust and above all Eco can be seen in Pamuk's work.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم
Michael Finocchiaro
This is a fantastic book by Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk which explores the relationship between art and religion ad between imagery and idolatry. Set in the 16th century, we are transported into an Istanbul of the Ottoman empire with a murder mystery told in the voices of the characters (and sometimes these are drawings in the books or just concepts) that inhabit the story. Its primary characters feel very real and the buildup to the big reveal at the end makes the book a real page turner. I ...more
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to miaaa by: Graeme
Shelves: fictions-others
On-a-high version:

I am called Black, I longed for my dearest Shekure for twelve years;
I, Shekure, not quite sure what was I doing in this story;
I am called Butterfly, I was the one who drew the Death and Mia thought I was the murderer;
I am called Stork, I was the one who drew the Tree and Butterfly always envy me as I was more talented without the help from our master;
I am called Olive, I was the one who rendered the Satan and drew the exquisite horse;
I am your beloved uncle, I was preparing a
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kelly by: various GR friends
My fickle heart longs for the West when I'm in the East and for the East when I'm in the West.
My other parts insist I be a woman when I'm a man and a man when I'm a woman.
How difficult it is being human, even worse is living a human's life.
I only want to amuse myself frontside and backside, to be Eastern and Western both.

This is Pamuk's enduring, never ending obsession. He's written fiction and non-fiction, journal articles and newspaper bites, and given endless interviews on this theme. He's ev
Nandakishore Varma
I am in two minds about this book.

Obviously, it is an important work. It showcases the miniaturist tradition of the Islamic world, and uses the cloistered world of miniaturists to explore the difference in philosophies between the East and the West. It was all the more interesting to me because I have been fascinated by this difference ever since I began viewing paintings with serious interest. In the East, "perspective" does not exist: the painting flows seamlessy over space and time whereas in
Henry Avila
Dec 18, 2013 rated it liked it
During nine snowy, cold, winter days in the fabulous city of Istanbul the capital of the Ottoman Empire, at its height in the reign of Sultan Murat 111 there occurred a brutal murder, (not the last one ) the year 1591. At the bottom of an abandoned well the mangled body of Elegant Effendi nicknamed Red, a miniaturist who had worked for the Sultan is found but not before the corpse tells his sad story. How the victim was lured by a person which was thought a close friend, with promises of riches ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-favs, nobel, fiction
Arguably the best novel of Orhan Pamuk. Set in Istanbul during the height of Ottoman power, this novel is a tribute to the art of painting as well as a fascinating murder mystery which will keep you hooked till the end. The unusual narrative is felt with full force right from the start - as you read the first chapter, starting with the voice of a corpse at the bottom of the well wondering who was the wretched man that killed him.

Then ensues a beautiful exploration of the 16th century Istanbul's
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nobels
This is a perfect novel, I realised, quite a few years after I finished it.

It has art and crime and passion and plot and characters and style and all that jazz. And it appeals to grumpy people past prime as well as passionate adolescents discovering the universe of literature for the first time.

When a student of mine, aged 15, stormed into the library and declared this was the best book ever, I felt strangely sad I hadn't thought more about it since I read and loved it some years ago. When the
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I could not help but think of the film "Daisies" (“Sedmikrasky,” dir. Vera Chytilova), that shameless classic of the Czech New Wave while reading Ohran Pamuk’s My Name is Red. That brilliant & psychedelic film of the 60’s portrays two incessant, silly girls who seem to want to emphasize their existence by playing pranks on other people and being undeniably obnoxious. They are terrified at the idea of being forgotten—of not existing. Similarly, in Pamuk’s epic novel of conspiring miniaturists, of ...more
Sep 26, 2007 rated it liked it
I tried very hard to really like this book. But, I suppose it's impossible to succeed in everything.

My Name Is Red is both historical fiction and a murder mystery. It takes place in 1591 (according to the timeline at the end of the book). The over-arching motion of the plot centers around the death of a master miniturist in the Sultan's court. The death is revealed in the first chapter, though the reasons surrounding the his death are much slower in being revealed. What is known, almost at the o
Samra Yusuf
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
I believe in the fact that there is nothing as fact, everything the eye beholds is the individual reality of the beholder, what the eye sees and mind translates it as sight is a phenomenon of individual perception, and this is where the artist discerns himself from a mere beholder, he is, simultaneously a beholder and a creator, or we may say the re-creator, his strokes alive the scenery, his colors spark the stars, his art immortals the mortality of life, and his hands vouchsafe timelessness to ...more

Some stories sink their teeth into your gut and don't let go. Others offer more cerebral pleasures (works by Borges comes to mind). This is more the second than the first, and I'm okay with that.

First and foremost, there are quite a few chapters in this book that read more like a chapter in a book on the history of Islamic illuminations than a chapter in a novel. In this respect, however, Pamuk can legitimately point to past antecedents in this vein: Tolstoy for one in War and Peace, Melville f
Sidharth Vardhan

"Books, which we mistake for consolation, only add depth to our sorrow."

"For the sake of a delightful and convincing story, there isn't a lie Orhan wouldn't deign to tell."

This is a lot like 'The Name of the Rose' a very, very, very well researched historical crime fiction where some people, who aren't exactly detective, are searching for a criminal. There are other similarities too, both books have a very big library the access to which is restricted. Both make commentary on position of wom
It's a rare pleasure to read a book so richly layered. Contained within what is essentially a murder mystery is the history of Islamic art, miniaturists in particular, and its clash with European (Frankish) art in the late 15th/early 16th centuries, romance, a social history of Istanbul at that time, religious extremism, a seditious storyteller in a coffeehouse, Ottoman history, multiple parables and historic tales bathed in myth.

Pamuk tells the story through many different voices, each giving
I had heard a lot of praises for My Name is Red by the Turkish author Orhan Pamuk and the book had been on my TBR for a long time before I finally got a chance to read it.

The story is set in the end of the sixteenth century in the city of Istanbul, the capital of the mighty Ottoman Empire. The Sultan of Turkey has commissioned a book in secret and one of the miniaturists working on the project is murdered. It won’t be the only murder of course!

miniaturist - A painter of miniatures or an illumin
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people with patience
Saying I liked it or didn't like it doesn't really capture the complexity of my experience with this book. Part murder mystery, part love story, and part historical novel about the book-art in the ottoman empire....I thought it was right up my alley. Maybe I expected to have more of an emotional connection but it was all very intellectual and somehow that frustrated me...churned up my stomach which was quite contented on the diet of all-fluff, all-the-time. Reading this was like eating roasted b ...more
It's not often you find books that start with the speech of an already dead character. It's actually pretty damn rare to find dead bodies speaking at all, wouldn't you agree? Well, Pamuk apparently didn't get the memo. Because that is exactly how his wonderful work, "My Name is Red", starts.

The body of "Elegant" Effendi is rotting in a well, somewhere in Istanbul. During life, he was a miniaturist, an artistry that is usually found in Ottoman books, and his talent was known as one of the best o
Ayu Palar
Oct 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone :D
Shelves: favorites-ever
‘To God belongs the East and the West’ – Al-Qur’an, Al Baqarah ayat 115.

I had abandoned My Name is Red for how long I can’t remember. The brilliance of it was untouched, what a shame. But after reading Other Colours (an amazing essay collection also by Orhan Pamuk), I thought I should give Mr. Pamuk another shot, and boy, how much I enjoyed the novel! And I understand why Pamuk deserves the Nobel prize. He’s the kind of writer that can bring out the cultural richness but at the same time using
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-ones, novels
It’s not a historical, though there is sort of history in it (Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, 1591). The mystery death of two master miniaturists doesn’t make it a murder mystery novel either. It’s not a philosophical novel though there are lots of discussions about illusrtation in European style concerning perspective, and traditional Eastern illustrating, which sees the world in the way Allah would see it.
What amazed me is, how Pamuk has taken a now forbiden discussion, to 5 centuries back, to stab
Farhan Khalid

My death conceals an appalling conspiracy against our religion, our traditions and the way we see the world


The earthy smell of mud mingled with memories


I don’t want to be a tree, I want to be its meaning


It is important that a painting, through its beauty, summon us towards life's abundance, towards compassion, towards respect for the colors of the realm which God created, and toward reflection and faith


Painting is the silence of the thought and the music of sight

Historical murder mystery and reflection on religion, love and death: Mr. Pamuk is pretty ambitious, telling us the story of a man who returns to Istanbul after twelve years away, and is asked to undertake a very dangerous work, reconnect with a lost love and solve the mystery of a man’s death. But this is not simply a very unusual “whodunit”; it’s a complex portrait of a great city at a moment of intense upheaval at the end of the 16th century. The East and the West were becoming reacquainted w ...more
Aug 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It's passionate, provocative and intelligent, surprisingly bringing the field of 16th-century miniaturist painting to bear on aesthetic and ethical issues that seem urgent (at least for artists) today. The main concern is with the notion of 'style' in art: is it desirable to have a personal style as an artist or are traces of style simply evidence of faults? In the process of investigating this question we discover the more fundamental question: what constitutes 'style'? Chara ...more
(review in English below)

Este livro é provavelmente uma obra-prima, mas não me cativou.

Fiz um esforço para chegar à página 100 - acabei por ficar na 101, por ser o final dum capítulo - mas nem o facto de o tema principal ser a pintura, nem os capítulos curtos, conseguiram manter-me interessada.

Aborreci-me a maior parte do tempo, com as vozes demasiado parecidas dos vários narradores, com os contos e as suas "morais", com tudo, enfim, e acho que assim não vale a pena.

Vou ler qualquer coisa diver
A rich layer cake of a novel. Given the complexity and intensity of ideas explored, I found myself wishing that Pamuk had taken a more Proustian, plotless deep-dive rather than trying to force it to be a murder mystery. The explorations of art and ideas fascinated me, and I cared about the complex main characters Shekure and Black and the rocky path of their love relationship. But the middle of the book dragged. Over-writing was a factor, but the biggest drag was the distracting ruse of having t ...more
May 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for literature this year. Described as “part murder mystery, part love story,” I found this to be an absorbing novel, but what most interested me, and the reason that I recommend this book to you, were the passages which attempt to describe the late sixteenth-century Istanbul miniaturists’ attitudes towards art. My Name is Red, though it seems to be only loosely based upon historical fact, deals with the repercussions of the meeting of two visual worlds: Venetian ...more
So yeah, I expected to like this book a lot. I mean, I typically enjoy books from this setting. For whatever reason I find the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires fascinating. Maybe because they sit between East and West and end up with a fascinating mix of different cultures and ideas, maybe because they are both so long lasting, or maybe it is because they, like Rodney Dangerfield, don't get no respect. But, as you can tell by the rating, it miserably failed to live up to my expectations.

Whatever t
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ivan by: My beloved sister
My favourite book by Orhan Pamuk so far and one of the best pieces of historical fiction I read.
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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 fro ...more

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