Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Istanbul full of melancholy

It's one of the most beautiful books that I've recently read - "Istanbul. Memories and the City" by Orhan Pamuk. The title suggests that this book describes the author's memories of Istanbul. The city where he was born and raised and where he has lived. Different than the city that we know from the guide-books and brochures for tourists. Different, because black and white. Black and white, because it's painted this way by the author. Black and white are also the photographs that illustrate each chapter. But black and white doesn't mean ugly. Black and white because it's full of melancholy and sadness, or bitterness (if you will) – the feeling usually associated with these colors. We can feel this melancholy reading the stories about the author's family, about people whom he knew, the descriptions of everyday life.
If anyone thinks that after reading this book he'll rush to the places described here, it'll be a tough task. As I mentioned, this is not a guide, it's a very personal story about growing up, maturing and making important life choices. About people who must make choices about school, occupation, lifestyle, who toss up between East and West, between tradition and modernity. Finally it's a book about searching your own identity.
Opening it won't be like opening a colorful brochure, but rather sitting down to talk with the author. During this conversation he reveals the most intimate desires, shares the most personal memories, he creates with his pen images to help us keep up with him when he wanders at night around the narrow and dark alleys of his city.

Orhan Pamuk "Estambul. Ciudad y recuerdos" (Spanish version)
translation.: Rafael Carpintero
published by: Debolsillo, second edition, 2009
ISBN 978-84-9908-031-14
pages: 448

Orhan Pamuk
He was born in 1952 in Istanbul. As a youngster he wanted to become a painter. He graduated from American Robert College in Istanbul and studied architecture and journalism. When he was 23 he began to write. He's one of the most famous Turkish writers. His books are read not only in his country, but worldwide. His books have been translated into many languages. In 2006 he received the Nobel Prize as one "who in the search for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for clash and interlacing of cultures."

Official website of the author (in English)

*If you are interested in Istanbul as a tourist destination, please read my relation clicking the following link:

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