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My Name is Red
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Jan 10, 2008 10:34AM
strong character!! that's my first impression on this book!!
you must read it!!
Aug 13, 2011 11:39AM
Really true, i am looking for his other book: "SNOW"
Sep 06, 2011 05:41PM
The two books are very different. RED reads like a mystery and moves fast but complicated -- Bourne of the 15th century in Turkey. SNOW is a quieter book that covers you with a blanket and then smothers you with emotion
Mar 29, 2012 01:02AM
"Red" wsa the book by Pamuk I had a hard time getting into, but I toughed it out and did like it. I love everything by Pamuk, esp. "Snow", "The Black Book" and even "Museum of Innocence".
Mar 29, 2012 02:58AM
Well, I did like Red, but Snow is too political and maybe social which made it a bit hard for me to read. And what I do not like about his books is that it's all about suffering. In my country a politician of Turkish origin committed a sucide after finishing Snow. These books are not just about emotions and culture, they also involve religion and politics. You definitely have to be familiar with the social and cultural characteristics of Turkey and its history background in order to completely understand Pamuk's books. That's what makes them hard to read - he doesn't write about the characters and their emotions and lives only. His books are much bigger than that.
Oct 20, 2014 02:20PM
In my first graduate program I read Hassan Hadaway's translation of 1001 Arabian Nights for an Islamic Philosophy course and I loved it so much I wrote my paper on it. That was before I lived in Saudi Arabia. Years before I had read Among the Believers which I found very interesting. And this was all before I read Edward Said, Homi Baba and other post-colonialists, which I did for my 2nd graduate degree.
I suppose I preface my comments about Pamuk's "My Name is Red" because I feel a need to place this clever and sometimes brilliant novel somewhere within my personal reading history. Because I think there was a time in the past that if I'd read this book I'd be over the moon about it.
There is much here to be over the moon about; a compelling murder mystery, historical thriller, artistic statement about art, etc. Pamuk's brilliance lies in the way he wields several of his tropes in and around various passages like "Hassan's red sword" in the end. He employs a crafty multitude of voices, from dead people to drawings of inanimate objects to various artists who ply their trade in miniatures to several women characters. What he does best is write convincingly about Islamic Istanbul of the 14th Century.
However too often, research takes over story. This is why I prefaced my comment because there was a time when I was fascinated with all things of this culture and era and would have likely responded in a different way. All of the history about the various myths, stories and artists depicting these various myths and stories etc., I sometimes found intrusive to story and tedious to wade through. I admit. I skimmed through many of these passages after I'd already read over half of the novel, feeling that it was too much. I just didn't have enough feeling for any of the characters who reminisced these ways to read that much detailed history. But I felt I read enough to get a sense of how at once beautiful it was, how it functioned in a particular characters' yearning, and how it related to the current drama's environment for miniaturists being torn between tradition and the then modernity of Frankish styles. Well of style in general. Which is one of the main themes......individual artist vs the anonymity of art for the sake of faith.
There are interesting and sometimes compelling sojourns into art vs reality, East vs. West, and more....all of which I appreciated. In my notebook, when I wrote about this book, I went on at length about the role of religion, theocracy, and the oppression that results. I think readers are familiar with these issues in contemporary Saudi Arabia, former Taliban-run Afghanistan, and the politically viable but thankfully improbable right wing Christian fundamentalism in the US. One gets a sense of this repression in Pamuk's 14th Century Istanbul, similar to several of Haddaway's stories in Arabian Nights and yet, we also see how the main characters at first flourish creatively within the confines of that oppression, and without perhaps knowing, creating individual styles.
It is a complex, architectural, multi-txtured novel that is simple to read overall. It is mostly entertaining and worth a good read. (less)
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