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The Museum of Innocence

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  26,140 ratings  ·  2,723 reviews
“It was the happiest moment of my life, though I didn’t know it.”

So begins the new novel, his first since winning the Nobel Prize, from the universally acclaimed author of Snow and My Name Is Red.

It is 1975, a perfect spring in Istanbul. Kemal, scion of one of the city’s wealthiest families, is about to become engaged to Sibel, daughter of another prominent family, when
Hardcover, 536 pages
Published October 20th 2009 by Knopf (first published August 29th 2008)
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Ellen Yes, very well-written, I would compare the author to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. If a person's favorite author is Stephen King -- probably not. …moreYes, very well-written, I would compare the author to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. If a person's favorite author is Stephen King -- probably not. (less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  26,140 ratings  ·  2,723 reviews

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Oct 15, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I'm going to tell it as it is.  Nobel-winning writer aside, this book is insufferable.  I frankly don't understand the hype, the glowing reviews, attention from the New Yorker - this book is bad.  Really bad.

The story revolves around a privileged man in Istanbul who has a short affair with a shopgirl and proceeds to become completely obsessed with her.  So obsessed is he that after the girl marries someone else, he ends up sitting at their dinner table for the next 8 years.

When Kemal is no
Jul 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2009, finished
(Additional notes below)

One thing I just realized, whenever I am about to finish reading a book, usually some sketchy ideas or sentences appear in my mind, so that right after I finish it, I can just open Goodreads, rate the book and write those ideas. I am also usually satisfied after writing three or four paragraphs, feeling that I have said what I have to say. But, I can't do that with Pamuk's books.

The night I finished this book, I was sitting at my desk with my hands laid on the closed boo
Grace Tjan
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Pamuk fans, closet romantics
I must confess that for the last five years, I have had a love and hate relationship with Orhan Pamuk (I also had a similar relationship with Charles Dickens, but that’s another matter altogether).

Pamuk’s style is meticulous and ornate, intensely introspective, sometimes deliberately repetitive, shot through with that particular Turkish kind of melancholy called ‘huzun’. At his best, his prose achieves a poetic, hypnotic quality that makes My Name Is Red such a compelling, mesmerizing read. But
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An extremely tedious, depressing read.
I can honestly say that I read the first 150 pages, and then started skimming the rest (which I NEVER do, since I love reading) in search for dialogue.It is so melancholy and slow.

It reminded me of being in a room with an extremely self absorbed person, who blabbers on and on, touching the same points over and over again without really any concern if you're listening or not.

The writing style is also overly detailed, describing dry conversations with busin
Elyse  Walters
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing

Update: WOW!!!!!

NOTE: Some people may think ..."what is she talking about?" ...nails on a chalkboard & obsessive? Yes...'sometimes'...but My God --in the best of all ways!! The writing is beyond gorgeous -and the story --OMG!

I own this book! (Sorry...'not' giving it away).

When I saw that Steve-goodreads member, was reading the 'not yet' released book, "A Strangeness in My Mind" --due out in a couple of days --I was a little envious! :)

Istanbul: "A Love letter to a City"....(nobody
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
“Time had not faded my memories (as I had prayed to God it might), nor had it healed my wounds as it is said always to do. I began each day with the hope that the next day would be better, my recollections a little less pointed, but I would awake to the same pain, as if a black lamp were burning eternally inside me, radiating darkness.”
— Orhan Pamuk, The Museum of Innocence

I must say, when I first started reading this book, I groaned inwardly. I had come across it while I was researching the Tu
Dec 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I think this will be a short review because i don't want to give too much away. This is probably one of the more unique books i've ever read, done completely unpretentiously. most of the time i was reading it, i was thoroughly swept up in its melancholy atmosphere, but as the story began to resolve toward the very end, the tone lightened and i happily noted Orhan Pamuk's sense of humor and ability to make fun of himself. at least that is how i processed certain things at the end of the book.

as a
Orhan Pamuk. Why have I waited so long to experience your writing? Because that is what this was. An experience. The Museum of Innocence has a deceitfully simple premise. Kemal Bey, from one of the wealthiest, more prominent families in Turkish society, is to be married to the lovely Sibel, daughter of a diplomat. She is well educated, beautiful, resourceful, well matched for his family even; no one can be anything but ecstatic at their engagement party, where they are on display for all of the ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
The Museum of Innocence is a novel developed with significant depth in relation to the main character, Kemal, and the obsession he has towards a beautiful woman, Fusan. Kemal never managed to secure a full relationship with Fusan because of his obliged engagement to marry Sibel. He always remained infatuated and felt she held his heart. The obsession manifested itself through Kemal collecting objects that had a connection with her, from cigarette butts to kitchen-ware. He would collect
I have been trying to finish this novel for such a long time. It took three tries. Third time lucky. I finally finished it.

An obsessive man shares his memories of a doomed love affair in a society where East and West are fusing. There is a confusion of cultures driven by mosques on the one hand, and malls on the other, which leads to civil unrest and even war in the vibrant ancient city of Istanbul.

I did not manage to become as obsessed as single-minded Kamul with Füsun, the eighteen-year old g
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It was quite an experience reading this book.

At one stage i almost abandoned it as i just had
too much of Kemal's obsession and it was getting a bit tiresome.

However,while i was not reading the book and moved on to other books i keep thinking about it and realised it was beautifully written.The descriptions of Istanbul life in the 1970's and 1980's were so brilliant.
I would be having a coffee in my local cafe(wet and damp and indoors) and would start thinking about Istanbul and the warm feeling i
Ova - Excuse My Reading
I like Orhan Pamuk but he has a flaw: he is extremely pleased with himself. I feel like he narcissisticly loves what he writes. I might be wrong, but after comparing this book to his previous work this is my take, as this book was nowhere near his good books!
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Aren't we all surrounded by thousands of tiny little things of the ones we love(d)?

"What a bore is life and how predictable: to be born, live and die." This is what I told my grandma (from my mothersside) at the age of eight after reading next weeks TV-guide completely. She looked at me with a little mysterious smile and said "Yes, you are right". I was old at the age of eight. The strange thing is this feeling never really left me. In retrospect my opinion back than was only a part of 'homo sap
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
I can't believe I finished a 532 page book that was pure drudgery. But I have a good reason - I've liked every other Orhan Pamuk book I have read. I assumed that at some point it would all come together and I would understand why it was meaningful to suffer through years of a narcissistic man's wearisome obsessions about his unrequited love. Since others have rated this highly and Pamuk is brilliant, I'm probably missing something here. ...more
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what to think of this book. I loved Pamuk's memoir, Istanbul: Memories and the City. But this novel, which covers much of the same material from a fictional perspective, with a woman, instead of a city as the focus of attention, was a frustrating read. The cataloging of every meaningful interaction with Fusun, the focus of Kemal's obsession, and the collecting of thousands of objects she touched or that are associated with her, does capture something ... a period of time? Reading th ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After finishing "The Museum of Innocence," I found myself in need to talk about it. I wanted my friends to know about this, but I wanted them to know about it slowly, in small drips, and tiny pieces.

-"Do you have time for another cup of coffee?" I'd ask, "This might take a while, but chances are this book might be too long for your taste and you might not want to read it yourself, but you have to at least hear me out till the end. Let me tell you about it!"

It's not typical of me to do this sor
Sonia Gomes
Jul 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Sigh, no one really
Shelves: abandoned
Sonia rushes to the shelf that houses the Pamuk collection, his visit to Goa has got everyone in a tizzy, should we read Pamuk or not is the question of the day.
Nobel Laureate visiting our homeland after all. Museum of Innocence she thinks, how quaint, comfortably seated she plunges into the book; her eagerness knows no bounds….

Page 1; Wow, sex on the very first page. Isn’t that a tad antiquated? A Nobel Laureate knows what he is doing. She reads better writing is sure to follow…

Page 5-25; Hig
Richard Derus
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Rating: 2.75* of five

Five hundred pages of long-face about a pair of star-crossed lovers.

They're cousins. Only not really. And it's set in Istanbul in 1975, with excursions to the present.

I know more about Istanbul in 1835 than 1975, though the latter is within my own lifespan. (Okay, okay, WELL within my own lifespan.) I like Turkish history because it's so improbable and so full of moments when they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory! I like alternate history so I love those moments wher
Usman Hickmath
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kemal, a 30 year old son of a wealthy Istanbul family, about to be engaged to a girl named Sibel, falls in love with an 18 year old shop girl Fusun- a distant, poorer relation of Kemal. Fusun also confesses her love to him and disappears after attending his engagement with Sibel. In his pursuit of Fusun over the next eight years, Kemal becomes a compulsive collector of objects that records his lovelorn progress, amassing a museum.

Having only two brief instances of lovemaking in a 500 pages long
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nobel, turkish
This is a story of an obsessive love of a rich Istanbul businessman who is engaged to be married but falls in love with a distant relation of his, a teenage girl; and there begins a long string of attempts that recount the ridiculous, comical lengths he would go to try to win the love of the girl of his desire.

He slides into a permanent state of profound inertia, into a complete and thorough uselessness. His work suffers neglect, his relations with friends and family are impaired, and his whole
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-lit
Several years ago a neighbour gave me a bag of books, all of which I immediately discarded except this. It sat on my to read shelf for a year or so, until a long haul voyage, even worse, a long haul voyage with flu, was about to happen. Wondering what was possessing me, I put this in my bag. Now or never. Worst case it would find a new home in Australia. Best....

Well, best, it turned out, was amazing. Despite having the flu, despite seats right next to the toilet (really disgusting, just don't d
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
فيديو المراجعة:

In the depth of the Turkish society, Orhan took us.

It's a love story.. well, not precisely.. It's a story about love..especially loving Istanbul.
Kemal bey the thirty-something year old man fell in love with an eighteen year old girl "Füsun" and was confused about giving up on everything he has that seems like a perfect life and go after his love or not.

However, this story is a background to Orhan's perfect narration of the aristocratic clas
I think I'm just too forgiving when it comes to certain authors. I want to like them and to trust them because they write about topics or cultures I'm interested in, and then they let me down. So down. This is my third Pamuk novel, and I may be done with the guy. I liked "The White Castle". "My Name Is Red" was meh. I thought it immature and shallow, despite the fascinating subject. I kept waiting for some revelation, some deep insight, and it never came. It was the same with this book.

The first
Dec 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, Pamuk is the only Turkish novelist I've been following for years. I loved A Strangeness in My Mind and some of his older books. The Museum of Innocence is hard to read, albeit I feel somehow drawn to the main character and, having read 30% of the novel, I know I'll carry on. I liked some of his books more, true, but one advantage of this one is the panorama of Turkish society in 1970s, of which I knew nothing. ...more
Dec 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that has the most perfect title. There could be no other title for the book.

I haven't read anything by Pamuk before reading this, but I am so going to read everything by him.

Earlier this year, I read The Dead of Winter by Lisa Appignanesi. Both Pamuk and Appignanesi seem to have tread the same ground. What is the difference between love and obessession? Where, if anywhere outside of physical threats and attacks, does it cross the line? Pamuk does a slightly better job
Sep 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
**Stopped reading after 200 pages**

I just...couldn' it anymore. I really tried to stick with it but Kemal Bey is probably one of the most annoying and creepiest guy (or douchebag, in some cases) I've ever come across in the fiction world. I lumbered through around 100 pages of his affair with Fusun, and then practically dragged myself through 100 more pages of his constant whining and "heartache" and just plain old annoying-ness.

I just got tired of him and the painfully slow-developing sto
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it

A magnificent obsession turns fatal

A review by Ben Antao

The Museum of Innocence
By Orhan Pamuk
Translated by Maureen Freely
Knopf Canada, 536 pages, $34.95

In an interview in Mumbai recently, Orhan Pamuk, 57, the author of The Museum of Innocence, said rather petulantly, “When Proust wrote on love, everybody read it as universal love; when I write about love, they call it Turkish love.”

Having read both Proust and Pamuk’s novel, I felt a tinge of sympathy for the Turkish Nobel prize winner of
4 stars for the book but 3.5 stars for my personal experience as it's never a good thing when I'm so relieved to reach the last page!

With characters such as Conniving Suhendan, Faruk the Mouse, Hilmi the Bastard, Left-Handed Sermin, Guven the Ship Sinker and Shithead-With-A-Mustache, and a central character who has created a museum out of the most mundane objects imaginable, there is a lot to be enjoyed. In a nutshell, Kemal is in a long term relationship with the woman he expects to marry when
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Museum of Innocence--which Orhan Pamuk has established in Istanbul--is a collection of earrings, barrettes, ceramic dog figurines, even cast-off cigarette butts, all of which remind the narrator of this novel, Kemal, of the object of his obsession, a poor relation named Fusun. To his credit, Pamuk manages to convey that obsession without making the novel entirely unreadable, although there are long passages that convey just how tedious irrational passion can be for those who are not directly ...more
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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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