The Museum of Innocence is a love story at once richly humorous and deeply tragic, from Orhan Pamuk, the bestselling author of Snow and My Name is Red
Orhan Pamuk, is the author of many celebrated books, including The White Castle, Istanbul and Snow. In 2003 he won the International IMPAC Award for My Name is Red, and in 2006 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His most recent novel, The Museum of Innocence, was an international bestseller, praised in the Guardian as 'an enthralling, immensely enjoyable piece of storytelling.' Orhan Pamuk lives in Istanbul.
Nobel laureate Pamuk's latest is a soaring, detailed and laborious mausoleum of love. During Istanbul's tumultuous 1970s, Kemal Bey, 30-year-old son of an upper-class family, walks readers through a lengthy catalogue of trivial objects, which, though seeming mundane, hold memories of his life's most intimate, irretrievable moments. The main focus of Kemal's peculiar collection of earrings, ticket stubs and drinking glasses is beloved Fusun, his onetime paramour and longtime unrequited love. An 18-year-old virginal beauty, modest shopgirl and "poor distant relation," Fusun enters Kemal's successful life just as he is engaged to Sibel, a "very special, very charming, very lovely girl." Though levelheaded Sibel provides Kemal compassionate relief from their social strata's rising tensions, it is the fleeting moments with fiery, childlike Fusun that grant conflicted Kemal his "deepest peace." The poignant truth behind Kemal's obsession is that his "museum" provides a closeness with Fusun he'll never regain. Though its incantatory middle suffers from too many indistinguishable quotidian encounters, this is a masterful work. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
And they say women fall crazy in love. In this latest from Nobel Prize winner Pamuk, protagonist Kemal becomes so obsessed with a shop girl he meets while buying his fiancee a purse that he ends up throwing away his entire life. F san is in fact a distant relative Kemal hasn't seen for some time, and they launch a passionate affair on the very eve of Kemal's engagement party. This is 1970s Turkey, and new ideas from the West would seem to bless the affair. But of course Kemal never considers breaking his engagement, and in the end a deeply bruised F san vanishes. As Kemal's fiancee, Sibel, rightly observes, "It's because she was a poor, ambitious girl that you were able to start something so easily." Kemal is not so enlightened as he thinks. He's also a bit of a bore, having compulsively organized an entire "museum" of artifacts pertaining to F san that the author repeatedly references; readers may agree with Kemal that "visitors to my museum must by now be sick and tired of my heartache." Verdict This story is beautifully told, but at great length and in great detail; patient readers, be prepared. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/09.]-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.