Anna Baillie-Karas's Reviews > The New Life

The New Life by Orhan Pamuk
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
11612758
's review

it was amazing

The narrator reads a book & goes off to find the meaning of life & win his beloved Janan. Slow to start, I was soon immersed in Pamuk's rich, lyrical prose. His sentences are intricate, but so exact they stop you in your tracks. I love the layers of meaning & imperfect characters.

He handles big themes - obsessive love, fanaticism, east v west - layered with recurring motifs (time, angels, buses) and cherishes everyday objects, described in lists that are achingly real. The collection of objects, and their meaning, is a recurring theme in Pamuk's work (eg in The Museum of Innocence) and I love the care he shows for these things that give texture to our lives.

Other themes that appear in his later work are at play: obsessive and one might say hopeless love (the museum of innocence again); the influence of the West and how young people who seek to preserve their traditions might become radicalised (explored in Silent House); the devotion to books and the process of writing and copying (My Name is Red) and the narrator identifying with a character who goes missing (The Black Book).

The narrator and Janan read 'the book' (we never learn what it is, but it could be analogous to the bible or Koran) & watch many films together, and Pamuk shows the interplay between life and entertainment. This reminded me of Infinite Jest - people read (or watch) to find meaning; the answer to the question of how - or why - to live, someone to save them. The narrator is obsessed with the book.

The 'angel' is portrayed as a mother figure who will enlighten them but also as the angel of death. Perhaps only at the point of death will the narrator know what he wanted to live for.

flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The New Life.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

August 23, 2017 – Shelved
August 24, 2017 – Started Reading
August 26, 2017 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.