Today I’m not going to tell you about the random events of my lovely life [ps: I have loads more to tell you guys (college gossip)] but about a book I read. I had told you earlier I read a lot and now I decided to write about my experience. So the book of the day is My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. The book is set in 16th century Istanbul and the main characters are the master miniaturists of the sultan’s court of the time. The premise itself is quite interesting since it’s a murder mystery but so is the the structure of the novel. It is narrated but many different characters including a gold coin, a horse,Satan and others. The book is a meditation on the differences between cultures. With the help of the changing art forms of the time and speaking about the ottoman style and the European style of painting Pamuk brings to light the difference between cultures. He is gives us a taste of a culture we are unaware of and with the help of the description of the paintings gives us an insight into the culture’s fables, beliefs, customs and people. It’s brilliant in its narrative style and in content. Every now and then one of the characters suddenly addresses the reader and takes one surprise. This book is packed with everything there is philosophical questioning, a love story and a murder mystery. It could be read as all of these or any one of these themes. The book tackles serious questions about inherited art and individuality, about western influences and loyalty towards one’s own roots. These issues can be seen even today in any culture that has been colonized.
Although it’s not an easy read and takes some time to get through, it’s worth the time. I feel like I know more people in the world now. Pamuk’s thoughts on art are enlightening and it’s not only the art of miniature paintings that his thoughts apply to but any kind of creative activity. This is also a major theme in this novel Snow but it is present here with more details. It inspects the different relationship people have with their own work and others creative works. The novel leaves one with more than just a thrill of the murder mystery; It leaves one a sense of deep satisfaction and acute curiosity about a different culture as well. According to me this a brilliantly written enriching novel and a great read.
So I hope you guys pick it up and read it. I am very happy and intellectually stimulated after reading this book. I want to know more about the paintings spoken about like the story of husrev and shirin and rustem and sohrab. I’m going to go find out about those and you guys can enjoy this lovely piece of work as well.
Yours happily (nothing gives me as much joy as a good book),