My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

73%

19 Critic Reviews

Pamuk's novel is utterly unique -- in subject matter, in style of storytelling, in outlook. It reminds us that the fundamental requirement for the novel is its novelty -- in how the story is told...
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

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
 

About Orhan Pamuk

See more books from this Author
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. 432 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Action & Adventure, Horror. Fiction
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Critic reviews for My Name Is Red
All: 19 | Positive: 18 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average

Acclaimed Turkish writer Pamuk...investigates two brutal murders—and offers a whimsical but provocative exploration of the nature of art in an Islamic society. My Name is Red speaks in many voices, some more predominant than others.

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NY Times

Good
on Sep 02 2001

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...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by John Mullan on Oct 22 2004

One might say that Pamuk has attached a novel of ideas to this popular genre for good commercial reasons. Yet his choice of genre is also appropriate.

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Guardian

Above average
on Nov 22 2008

Less a novel than a sort of Byzantine wikipedia about art, history, love and philosophy, and blazing with colour (literally) and atmosphere, it's unlike any book I've ever read.

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Guardian

Above average
on Oct 23 2004

This is a novel of ideas and a meditation on how east and west might meet. It is also an example...the historical mystery. Pamuk likes to build his novels around mysteries, making detective stories of intellectual inquiries:

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Clover Hughes on Aug 17 2002

The constant shift of perspective within these dramatic monologues enables the reader to become immersed in the richly patterned history of the Ottoman empire and the city of Istanbul, while ensuring that the identity of the murderer remains shadowy.

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Guardian

Good
on Sep 15 2001

This is a profound work with deep roots. Far from being a mere "historical novel", it has unforgettable narrative drive that unites past and present, as well as the high art with popular appeal that has made Pamuk into Turkey's greatest writer.

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Guardian

Above average
on Aug 05 2001

In this world of forgeries, where some might be in danger of losing their faith in literature, Pamuk is the real thing, and this book might well be one of the few recent works of fiction that will be remembered at the end of this century.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average

The book's jeweled prose and alluring digressions, nesting stories within stories, make one want to say of Pamuk what one of the characters says..."...God had blessed him with an enchanting artistic gift and the intellect of a jinn."

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
on Nov 02 2010

So My Name Is Red is, ostensibly, the story of a murder investigation and, like most good crime novels, it digs deeply into the motives for the killing...includes stories within stories, adding a rich historical context—part fact and part fiction.

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Star Tribune

Good
on Oct 06 2001

Pamuk's novel is utterly unique -- in subject matter, in style of storytelling, in outlook. It reminds us that the fundamental requirement for the novel is its novelty -- in how the story is told...

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About.com

Above average

My Name is Red is not an easy book to read. The multiple characters and viewpoints do make for some confusion, but the journey is certainly worth the effort.

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BookRack

Good
on Jul 26 2010

A book which requires you to think and understand. As someone who loves philosophy and epistemology, it is pure joy....The unique thing about the book- you get to know the characters both through their eyes as well as the way the world looks at them.

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BookDragon

Above average
on May 18 2012

In my misplaced determination to whittle down my should-read stacks, Pamuk’s Snow and Museum of Innocence proved disappointing...Red was certainly the better of the three, yet I remain befuddled as to its ubiquitous appeal.

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Asian Review of Books

Good
on Jan 10 2002

Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red is one of the most multi-faceted novels that I have read in a long time: a page-turner of a psychological murder mystery, a complex love story, an atmosphere- and detail-laden work of historical fiction...

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Literary Kicks

Above average
on May 09 2006

When the story finally reaches its crisis, I am pleased to report the surprise ending does deliver a strong punch (and it was better than any of the surprise endings I'd guessed).

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The Sunday Times

Above average
on Jan 15 2011

My Name is Red has some surprising twists and turns...as an historical novel, it’s setting in late sixteenth century Istanbul is convincingly detailed and as a novel it offers some memorable characters and complex relationships.

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EzineArticles

Above average
on Jul 10 2010

These events portray the physical and mental state of people of the period involved. The novel succeeds in describing the social texture of the characters and how that affects their daily life.

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John Baker's Blog

Above average
on Nov 26 2008

But for me, the most endearing strand of the novel is the love story between Black and Shekure...My Name Is Red is a rare thing in which Western readers are given an invaluable glimpse into the everyday Islamic world and mind.

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Alma Marhamati

Alma Marhamati 15 May 2016

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