Silent House by Orhan Pamuk

72%

5 Critic Reviews

Silent House may not be Pamuk at his mature best, but if it isn’t, it comes mighty close. It is a rewarding read about a people in a place and time that unfortunately most Western readers know very little about.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

Never before published in English, Orhan Pamuk’s second novel is the story of a Turkish family gathering in the shadow of the impending military coup of 1980.

In an old mansion in Cennethisar, a former fishing village near Istanbul, a widow, Fatma, awaits the annual summer visit of her grandchildren. She has lived in the village for decades, ever since her husband, an idealistic young doctor, ran afoul of the sultan’s grand vizier and arrived to serve the poor fishermen. Now mostly bedridden, she is attended by her constant servant Recep, a dwarf—and the doctor’s illegitimate son. Despite mutual dependency, there is no love lost between mistress and servant, who have very different recollections—and grievances—from the early years, before Cennethisar grew into a high-class resort surrounding the family house, now in shambles.

Though eagerly anticipated, Fatma’s grandchildren bring little consolation. The eldest, Faruk, a dissipated historian, wallows in alcohol as he laments his inability to tell the story of the past from the kaleidoscopic pieces he finds in the local archive; his sensitive leftist sister, Nilgün, has yet to discover the real-life consequences of highminded politics; and Metin, a high school nerd, tries to keep up with the lifestyle of his spoiled society schoolmates while he fantasizes about going to America—an unaffordable dream unless he can persuade his grandmother to tear down her house.
But it is Recep’s nephew Hasan, a high school dropout, lately fallen in with right-wing nationalists, who will draw the visiting family into the growing political cataclysm issuing from Turkey’s tumultuous century-long struggle for modernity.

By turns deeply moving, hilarious, and terrifying, Silent House pulses with the special energy of a great writer’s early work even as it offers beguiling evidence of the mature genius for which Orhan Pamuk would later be celebrated the world over.


This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide. 

 

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 October 9, 2012 by Vintage. 354 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Silent House
All: 5 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Francine Prose on Oct 19 2012

I was glad to be transported to a seaside town in Turkey, to meet this odd family and their neighbors, all of whom seem to be living in several places at once...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Mark Lawson on Oct 12 2012

Becoming available to English readers at a time when the media are daily reporting Turkey's potentially ominous border standoff with Syria, Silent House usefully illuminates the recent historical pressures on one combatant.

Read Full Review of Silent House | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Mark Lawson on Oct 12 2012

...Silent House usefully illuminates the recent historical pressures on one combatant.

Read Full Review of Silent House | See more reviews from Guardian

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Jack Goodstein on Aug 14 2013

Silent House may not be Pamuk at his mature best, but if it isn’t, it comes mighty close. It is a rewarding read about a people in a place and time that unfortunately most Western readers know very little about.

Read Full Review of Silent House | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Toronto Star

Below average
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on Dec 19 2012

Silent House certainly sheds light on his evolution as a novelist; those new to his work, however, would do best to start elsewhere.

Read Full Review of Silent House | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for Silent House
71%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 64 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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