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My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
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My Name is Red (1998)

by Orhan Pamuk

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,6311381,153 (3.76)1 / 365
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English (114)  French (8)  Italian (5)  German (3)  Spanish (3)  Indonesian (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (138)
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
Too much ritual maiming for my taste. An important book but took a bit too much squirming to enjoy. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Dec 15, 2018 |
My Name is Red is another book that indulges my interest in illuminated illustration. I bought it ages ago when it won the IMPAC prize in 2003, but although Pamuk has since become one of those authors whose books I try always to read, until now I had never got round to reading the one that made him famous to ordinary readers in the Anglosphere. It’s taken me ages to read it, because I as-good-as read it twice, backtracking over the chapters as I fitted the pieces of the puzzle together but also as I formed a more coherent understanding of the principles of Ottoman art in the 16th century.
The novel is a murder mystery in the style of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose or Iain Pears’ An Instance of the Fingerpost but it’s also a love story and a meditation on a transitional period in Ottoman art. At the same time it also explores one of Pamuk’s central preoccupations: the contest between modernity and tradition; and between the West and Islam. He does this through an exploration of the Islamic art of miniatures, setting his novel among master miniaturists under the leadership of Master Osman, a character based on the real life Nakkaş Osman, the chief miniaturist of the Ottoman region in the 16th century.

When I visited the Alhambra in Granada, I wasn’t all that excited about Islamic art because representation of the human form was not allowed and my interest waned after a few chambers of what looked to me like endless repetitions. But actually Ottoman art covered a vast area, and it was influenced by Persian and Chinese art, as well as the Franks and the Venetians with whom the Ottomans were consorting as they conquered bits and pieces of Europe. There was also a significant difference between public art, and the exquisite private artworks commissioned by successive Sultans who liked, as rulers do, to acquire self-aggrandising artworks that feature their importance. So it’s not at all surprising that when the Sultan of Pamuk’s novel caught up with the idea of Renaissance portraiture from Genoa and Venice, he liked the idea of a portrait, accompanied by items significant in his life as a demonstration of his power and majesty.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2018/09/28/my-name-is-red-by-orhan-pamuk-translated-by-... ( )
  anzlitlovers | Sep 28, 2018 |
Book on CD performed by John Lee

Set in 16th-century Instanbul, this is a murder mystery, an art history lesson, and a love story all in one. The Sultan has commissioned a new book and directs Enishte Effendi to appoint a group of acclaimed miniaturists to illuminate the manuscript “in the style of the Franks.” But figurative art can be seen as an affront to Islam, so it’s a dangerous commission that must remain secret, and no one in the group knows the full scope of the project. When one of the artists disappears, the Sultan demands answers within three days. Was this the work of a devout follower of Islam, or is this a case of jealous rivalry for the hand of Enishte’s beautiful daughter Shekure?

I’ve had this on my tbr for a long time. I really enjoy reading international literature, and this one puts me smack dab into the world of historic Istanbul. But I found it difficult to follow because of Pamuk’s unusual style. Each chapter has a different narrator – including not only the major characters (Black, Shekure, Esther, Butterfly, etc), but a corpse, a tree, a dog, an ancient coin, and even death. Each chapter is written in first person giving the reader only that narrator’s perspective.

When he focuses on the murder and the investigation, the story is quite compelling. However, Pamuk also includes long passages on art, the history of Turkey, and the teachings of Islam. Some of these helped me to understand the culture and the references, but mostly they interrupted the story arc and sometimes had me scratching my head wondering what I had just missed.

The audio book is masterfully performed by John Lee, whose voice reminds me of Jeremy Irons. He really had his job cut out for him, given the style of writing and the many characters. There were times when I had to read the text to be sure I hadn’t missed something. Still, Lee was definitely up to the task. I would rate his narration at 5 stars. Bravo. ( )
  BookConcierge | Mar 14, 2018 |
At first I found the manner of writing hard to get into. The flow was different from what I'm used to, but after awhile I was totally into the story. Understanding that each chapter was from the viewpoint of different characters helped. The author has woven together a wonderful story of murder, mystery, art and love. ( )
  Neverwithoutabook | Jan 7, 2018 |
“Tell me then, does love make one a fool or do only fools fall in love?”

The novel is set in 1591 Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Murat III, a patron of the miniaturists whose art had come over from Persia. It was a time when the Ottomans empire had begun wane under the influence of the power of the West. The story revolves around two murders; one a master miniaturist Elegant, one of four artists commissioned to produce a new book, the other Enishte, the man who under the Sultan's instructions commissioned them. The book is secret with even the miniaturists unsure as to its final appearance as each have only seen parts and none have seen the whole. Their drawings are done with a Western influence and each is fearful of being branded heretics by their Muslim brethren.

The art of miniature depicts figures with great beauty and variety but without individual characters or expressions. The paintings stand not as themselves but strictly as illustrations of text. The style the sultan's artists are surreptitiously instructed to adopt is different. Figures are individual, portraits are of specific people and these paintings are not illustrations; they stand as works of art in their own right. Why should this be heresy? Basically people and things ''weren't depicted according to their importance in Allah's mind but as they appeared to the naked eye.''

There are various elaborations on the concept of ''Eastern'' art and how it contrasts with "Western" art but entwined with this is the pursuit of Enishte's daughter, Sekure, by Black, a man who had been in love with her when he was a youth and who had recently returned to the city after an absence of 12 years and is hopeful of rekindling his affection and her brother-in-law Hasan. Her husband having failed to returned from war some four years previous.

The story is told from the viewpoint dozen characters, including a dog, a tree, a gold coin, the killer and the colour crimson (''My Name Is Red'') and this can be very confusing at times so much so that on more than one occasion I was tempted to throw in the towel and quit. What kept me going was to see who the murderer was, both men were killed by the same person, and who ultimately won the hand of fair Sekure (a character that I couldn't really take to if I'm perfectly honest). Ultimately I was left rather disappointed as how this pursuit of Sekure turned out as it seemed to me to finish far too abruptly and limply. Overall not a great read for me. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Dec 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
The new one, ''My Name Is Red,'' is by far the grandest and most astonishing contest in Pamuk's internal East-West war. Translated with fluid grace by Erdag M. Goknor, the novel is set in the late 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Murat III, a patron of the miniaturists whose art had come over from Persia in the course of the previous hundred years. It was a time when the Ottomans' confidence in unstoppable empire had begun to be shaken by the power of the West -- their defeat at Lepanto had taken place only a few years earlier -- as well as by its cultural vitality and seductiveness.
 

» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Orhan Pamukprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bertolini, MartaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campin, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dorleijn, MargreetTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Göknar, ErdağTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gezgin, ŞemsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heijden, Hanneke van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Iren, IngridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kojo, TuulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shen, ZhixingTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wondergem, MijkeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Самуилова, РозияTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
You slew a man then fell out with another concerning him. (Koran, "The Cow," 72)

The blind and the seeing are not equal. (Koran, "The Creator," 19)

To God belongs the East and the West. (Koran, "The Cow," 115)
Dedication
For Rüya
First words
I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well.
Quotations
Over long years, as we gaze at book after book and illustration after illustration, we come to learn the following: A great painter does not content himself by affecting us with his masterpieces; ultimately, he succeeds in changing the landscape of our minds. Once a miniaturist's artistry enters our souls this way, it becomes the criterion for the beauty of our world.
Books, which we mistake for consolation, only add depth to our sorrow.
Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight.
Colour is the touch of the eye, music to the deaf, a word out of the darkness.
An artist's skill depends on carefully attending to the beauty of the present moment, taking everything down to the minutest detail seriously while, at the same time, stepping back from the world, which takes itself too seriously, and as if looking into a mirror, allowing for the distance and eloquence of a jest.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Original title: Benim adim Kirmizi
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375706852, Paperback)

At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, My Name Is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul, from one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish writers.

The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed. The ruling elite therefore mustn’t know the full scope or nature of the project, and panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears. The only clue to the mystery–or crime? –lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex and power.

Translated from the Turkish by Erda M Göknar

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:11 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A furor erupts in sixteenth-century Istanbul when the Sultan commissions the European-style illumination of a great book, and the situation worsens when one of the miniaturists vanishes mysteriously.

» see all 7 descriptions

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