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The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
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The Museum of Innocence (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Orhan Pamuk, Maureen Freely (Translator)

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Member:freelancer_frank
Title:The Museum of Innocence
Authors:Orhan Pamuk
Other authors:Maureen Freely (Translator)
Info:Knopf (2009), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 535 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk (2008)

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English (28)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
In places the Pamuk's writing is excellent; you get a real sense of the obsessive and emotional lead character, Kemal, and his frustrated love for Fusun. But, paradoxically, it is the efforts the author takes to convey that obsession that let this novel down. Details of Kemal's bizarre behaviour drag on for page after page, chapter after chapter; and though it is well observed, it is dull. Ultimately, the plot is simply not interesting enough for this novel to warrant the higher rating the writing deserves. ( )
  YossarianXeno | Mar 20, 2014 |
A book which speaks of the importance of objects in our lives. It is as if each object has its own life or that it drains the very life of people around them and becomes a part of them. This is why museums amaze us, for they bring to our days the immortality of their long gone owners.

Museum guide interventions during the story are quite sudden and strange but maintain an informative and entertaining aspect. ( )
  animyrch | Dec 8, 2013 |
since I am about to travel to Istanbul, I wanted to really like this book and learn about the culture, but I only found an obsessed man who is in love with his distant cousins and waits 8 years until he can be together with her (again). The start was still very interesting to me but when his waiting started, I caught myself flipping 50 pages ahead not missing the beat of the story, so I actually skipped now in 100 page rhythm and speed read through the rest. for sure I know I won't visit the museum in Istanbul. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Aug 19, 2013 |
A pity the Nobel prize of literature has become all but fiction.... i.e. that the assignation is politicized and has little to do with writing and much to do with representation. Continent, race, religion, gender, and language have more to do with who the next winner will be than his/her qualities as a writer. Orhan Pamuk is not of Nobel-size, not as far as writing goes anyway. (Today I will say that the Man Booker Prize is much more reliable if you search an evaluating body to sift your next reading project through.)

This book is a verbally sluggish slowmotion through a man`s selfishness, feticism and obsession; A heavy project for anyone. When done in a dull and non-inventiv, repetitive and boring language it is insufferable. Add an unbelieveable storyline/ main character (none is that stupid that long) and you get the gist of it.

The one star is for me - for trying.... ( )
  Mikalina | Jun 9, 2013 |
I have been asked to review this novel by the Go Review that Book group for LT. I see there are in fact 32 other reviews of the book on LT so there is a challenge to contribute something new . In reviewing a novel it is essentia not to give away the plot or story's climax . I read this very long novel (over 700 pages) in English translation (the paperback version published in 2010). It was originally published in Turkish in 2008. I wondered how faithfully or successfully the work has been translated but there is fulsome praise for the translator , Maureen Feeely . I found it a long read though the language is very simple . The story is of the illicit love affair of the first person narrator, Kemal and his mistress Fusin. The characters have been compared to the iconic lovers of other classic love novels, Lolita, Anna Karenina , and Madame Bovary . The question common to all is how does the author use is medium, the novel, to throw light on the human condition ? Pamik passes the test as he conveys the emotions, the uncontrolable desire , the madness of passion . The intimate details of stolen love and the cheating on wives and husbands both shock and have a voyeuristic appeal. However, I never warmed to or felt any sympathy for the lead characters . The novel is good in capturing the innocence and omnipotence of youth but did these people learn nothing as their lives progressed?

I found it a strange novel as it is an extraordinary 83 chapters but more specifically as it seems to cross that boundary between memoir, reality and fantasy / fiction . I think this is what the author wished to convey. Perhaps this is how we all live our lives with a fantasy dream world happening in one's memories , emotions and reflections . You wonder if a beautiful woman such as Fusin walked the streets of Istanbul. I enjoy reading novels by writers of different nationalities that give you the feel for a society, a time and a place. At that level Pamuk's novel works as it gives an insight into secular but traditional contemporary Turkish society from 1975 to the present , there is a map of Istanbul and the index of characters further add to verisimultude of the novel .

I enjoyed Pamuk's book on other book on Istanbul hugely and shall read his other novels when they fall into my lap.

Pamuk has become a controversial figure in Turkey because of a couple of seemingly offensive remarks on The history of Armenians and Kurds and was tried for his comments . How ironic that a writer who has become a best seller and has given the world an achingly nostalgic insight into his city and culture should fall foul of the law and be fined . The predicament Pamuk finds himself in raises questions about Turkey as a modern secular economically progressive place , wanting to be a member of the European Union in contrast to Turkey as a middle eastern , conservative predominantly Muslim country with an inability to handle history of national connflict.

Pamuk is Turkey's only Nobel prize winner in literature (2005). And this novel was published after that award. It is noteworthy that Pamuk has turned fiction into reality with the investment of his prize money in creating a museum of innocence and from photos on the web it is a strange museum but it can be found in Istam and carrying a copy of the novel will stand as entrance ticket . I reserve my opinion and judgment until I have visited , but I am drawn to Istanbul and to include the museum on our itinerary. Other writers have drawn me to their cities ... Naguib Mafouz's Cairo or Joyce's Dublin or Durrell's Alexandria but one arrives too many decades to late to find the author's grail. Perhaps searching for Pamuk's Istanbul will bring rewards. ( )
2 vote Africansky1 | May 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Orhan Pamuk favors short chapters that lead the reader from one entry to the next, turning back to correct or amend. He is directorial in “The Museum of Innocence,” his enchanting new novel of first love painfully sustained over a lifetime.
 
"The Museum of Innocence" deeply and compellingly explores the interplay between erotic obsession and sentimentality -- and never once slips into the sentimental. There is a master at work in this book.
 
"The Museum of Innocence" is a deeply human and humane story. Masterfully translated, spellbindingly told, it is resounding confirmation that Orhan Pamuk is one of the great novelists of his generation. With this book, he literally puts love into our hands.
 
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Epigraph
These were innocent people, so innocent that they thought poverty a crime that wealth would allow them to forget. - from the notebooks of Celâl Salik
If a man could pass thro' Paradise in a Dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his Soul had really been there, and found that flower in his hand when he awoke - Aye? and what then? - from the notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge
First I surveyed the little trinkets on the table, her lotions and her perfumes. I picked them up and examined them one by one. I turned her little watch over in my hand. Then I looked at her wardrobe. All those dresses and accessories piled one on top of the other. These things that every woman used to complete herself - they induced in me a painful and desperate loneliness; I felt myself hers, I longed to be hers. - from the notebooks of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar
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Fue el momento más feliz de mi vida y no lo sabía. De haberlo sabido ¿habría podido proteger dicha felicidad? ¿habría sucedido todo de otra manera? Si, de haber comprendido que aquel era el momento más feliz de mi vida, nunca lo habría dejado escapar.
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It was the happiest moment of my life , though I didn’t know it. Had I known , had I cherished this gift , would everything have turned out differently ? Yes, if I had recognized this instant of perfect happiness, I would have held it fast and never let it slip away.
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It is 1975, a perfect spring in Istanbul. Kemal, scion of one of the city's wealthiest families, is about to become engaged to Sibel, daughter of another prominent family, when he encounters Fusun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distant relation. Thus begins an obsessive but tragic love affair that will transform itself into a compulsive collection of objects--a museum of one man's broken heart--that chronicle Kemal's lovelorn progress and his afflicted heart's reactions.… (more)

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