Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk
Memories and the City

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Synopsis

A shimmering evocation, by turns intimate and panoramic, of one of the world’s great cities, by its foremost writer. Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul and still lives in the family apartment building where his mother first held him in her arms. His portrait of his city is thus also a self-portrait, refracted by memory and the melancholy–or hüzün– that all Istanbullus share: the sadness that comes of living amid the ruins of a lost empire.With cinematic fluidity, Pamuk moves from his glamorous, unhappy parents to the gorgeous, decrepit mansions overlooking the Bosphorus; from the dawning of his self-consciousness to the writers and painters–both Turkish and foreign–who would shape his consciousness of his city. Like Joyce’s Dublin and Borges’ Buenos Aires, Pamuk’s Istanbul is a triumphant encounter of place and sensibility, beautifully written and immensely moving.
 

About Orhan Pamuk

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Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. His novel My Name Is Red won the 2003 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages. He lives in Istanbul.
 
Published December 5, 2006 by Vintage. 400 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Istanbul

Kirkus Reviews

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In the last pages, Pamuk turns from art and architecture to writing, making this ultimately a book about vocation.

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The New York Times

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Indeed, “The Bastard of Istanbul,” her sixth novel and the second written in English, recently led to a suit by the right-wing attorney Kemal Kerincsiz, who declared that Shafak’s Armenian characters were “insulting Turkishness” by referring to the “millions” of Armenians “massacred” by “Turkish ...

Jan 21 2007 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

The New York Times

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this happens to be the plot of Pamuk's ''White Castle.'' But it is ''Black Book,'' the story of a quest that begins (and ends) in a family-owned apartment building in Nisantasi, that flickers most vividly across the pages of ''Istanbul.'' There is so much of Pamuk in the novel's solitary flaneur,...

Jun 12 2005 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

The Guardian

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We who translate from non-western languages will often discover, if a book becomes a world phenomenon, that most other translations will be from our translation and not the original.

Nov 27 2010 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

The Guardian

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Istanbul: Memories of a City by Orhan Pamuk Faber £16.99, pp288 The idea of merging a writer's life with the city of his childhood seems both natural and exciting, particularly from an author who has come to symbolise the liberal face of Turkey, struggling to pull itself into shape for the EU.

Apr 17 2005 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

The Guardian

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Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Maureen Freely 252pp, Faber, £16.99 Paradoxically perhaps, presumptuously certainly, I feel myself qualified to review this wonderful book by a Turkish novelist for the following reasons: first, I have experienced - with mingled pride, shame and regret - ...

Apr 02 2005 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

BC Books

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Near the opening of Istanbul: Memories And The City, Orhan Pamuk suggests that “at least once in a lifetime, self-reflection leads us to examine the circumstances of our birth”, to examine family, identity and origins, perhaps to find if we might have deserved better.

Apr 18 2009 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

BC Books

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In some cases you have to wonder, which came first, the need to write the memoir or the need to do something to be able to write a memoir.

May 06 2007 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

Entertainment Weekly

In this breathtaking memoir, Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk braids together an account of his birth as a writer with a haunting tribute to Turkey's great metropolis — ''a city of ruins and end-of-empire melancholy'' — where he has spent his life.

Jun 08 2005 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

Denver Post

Despite a few postmodern touches — a character name Orhan Pamuk makes a few fleeting appearances in the novel — this is a charmingly old-fashioned love story whose principal interest lies in the author's warm-hearted evocation of his milieu: Istanbul is Pamuk's city like Dublin was Joyce's or Chi...

Jan 10 2010 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

Bookmarks Magazine

More than a city or guide book, Istanbul is "the most haunting, heartbreaking, gorgeous book ever about a city," says The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Jan 03 2008 | Read Full Review of Istanbul: Memories and the City

Reader Rating for Istanbul
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