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My Name is Red Paperback – 19 Jun 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 508 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (19 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571212247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571212248
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 305,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Orhan Pamuk is one of Turkey's premier novelists and My Name Is Red, when published in the original Turkish in 1998, became the fastest-selling book in Turkish history. It is high time then that a translation to English was made, and this publication will be widely welcomed by Pamuk's growing legion of English-speaking admirers.

In the late 16th century, during the final years of the reign of Ottoman Sultan Murat III, a great work is commissioned, a book celebrating the Sultan's life. The work is conducted in secret, to the ignorance of the artists involved, for fear of a violent religious reaction to the European style of the illuminations in the book. An artist goes, missing, feared dead, and Black, a painter who has been in a self-enforced exile because of spurned love, returns to help his former Master investigate the disappearance.

Pamuk's prose is as exquisite and rich as the elucidations it describes. This is a dense, atmospherically fevered book, which demands a high level of patience and attention from the reader, perhaps mirroring the patience of the miniaturists. Written in the first person, with multiple narratives, this is a book full of unreliable witnesses, and as the various stories of the narrators unfold, the truth of the disappearance slowly emerges. The sense of place and time are carefully constructed and diligently maintained throughout the novel, which, like Umberto Eco's The Name Of The Rose, far exceeds the genre of literary historical crime to become a hypnotic meditation on religion, love, time, patience and artistic devotion. --Iain Robinson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Magnificent... 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.' --Observer

'We in the West can only feel gratitude that such a novelist as Pamuk exists, to act as a bridge between our culture and that of a heritage quite as rich as our own.' --Daily Telegraph

'More than any other book I can think of, it captures not just its past and present contradictions, but also its terrible, timeless beauty. It's almost perfect, in other words. All it needs is the Nobel Prize.' --Maureen Freely, New Statesman

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Depressaholic on 3 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
`MNIR' is a whodunit set in late 16th century Istanbul. An illustrator of manuscripts (Elegant Effendi) is murdered by one of his colleagues. Black Effendi, newly returned from exile, is set the task of finding the murderer by his uncle, for whom the victim was working when he was killed. As Black delves deeper into the output of the workshop in which Elegant worked, he uncovers many tensions between the workers, including over the intrusion of European techniques into Islamic illustration, the succession to the position of master of the workshop, professional jealousy and good old-fashioned lust. Black must unravel these strands to identify the murderer before the sultan makes good a threat to have the whole workshop arrested and tortured.

Parallels with Eco's `The Name of the Rose' are impossible to avoid. Both books are murder mysteries whose resolution is based in religious philosophy, and both play very cleverly with the idea of big religious concepts interacting with the baser aspects of human nature. Fans of one will enjoy the other. Pamuk's writing is more humanistic than Eco's, and perhaps less coldly academic. Black's investigations are woven in with a genuinely fascinating love story that becomes integral to the story, rather than just a distraction. In addition, Pamuk's writing is very beautiful, and the whole book is set against the background of a wintry and claustrophobic Istanbul that is very well described. Because of this, it is slow paced, occasionally too slow, and the murder mystery aspect becomes secondary to Black's own life in places. However, in general I really enjoyed reading `MNIR' and, despite it being a big book, finished it fairly quickly. It was enjoyable and cerebral, and a great piece of historical fiction.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Pamuk accomplishes a stunningly complex historical novel, the best that the genre can offer. With this story, you enter a world fundamentally different from the present day, in which the concerns and world view of the characters are slowly revealed. While there are some constants, such as the search for true love, miniaturists in 16C Turkey are part of a tradition almost totally alien from art today. That Pamuk can weave their very consciousness into a complex mystery novel is truly astonishing. There are many levels that fascinate.

First, of course, there is a murder mystery. As the narrative from various points of view unfolds, clues and many false paths are left for the reader to piece together. It is a dazzlingly elegant labyrinth that kept my mystified to the very last chapters.

Second, there is a man and woman bound by family and seeking fulfillment in love. In thrall to Islamic and Turkish tradition, they perform a long mating dance. If is beautiful, taut with emotion, and as suspenseful as the murder itself.

Third, the time period is at the close of the Ottoman Turks' golden age, when the dynamics behind the expansion of the empire are giving way to a far more conservative society, one that will seek to preserve rather than create, becoming famously decadent over the next 400 years of decline. This turning point is wonderfully and subtly evoked, obliquely and by inference. You also get a feel for the other empires and princes nearby.

Fourth, the reader is introduced to the Islamic tradition of figurative art. As idolatry was forbidden by the Koran, the portrayal of images (rather than exclusively geometric designs) was a risky business. This too is wonderfully evoked and explained.
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78 of 82 people found the following review helpful By "fatma68" on 2 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
I have decided to write this review for 2 reasons:
1. I read the book (!)
2. The reviews haven't done the book justice.
I am native Turkish but having grown up and lived in the UK all my life it was easier for me to read the English translation of this book. Being Turkish I note that the translations were perfect, it has been translated EXACTLY. However, this doesn't take into consideration cultural understandings of terms and phrases. As a Turk it was easier for me to identify with these than perhaps other readers. I was quite surprised by some of the reviews for this book which I put down to "lost in translation" hence my own review...
I found the book original and hugely entertaining. It's a detective story of sorts with love thrown in. But Orhan Pamuk is dealing with lots of other issues too: differences in Eastern/Western art, culture and the impact of religion. Its a very original book and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Take it slow and it will all make sense. Promise!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By buddingpasha on 25 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
I came across the book by chance and was intrigued. I had never heard of Orhan Pamuk. A murder mystery which has elements of the Name of the Rose, Kurasawa's Rashomon and which like the former educates the reader. Maybe I am reading too much into this but this may be an allegory about Modern Turkish politics and society, resistance to modernism, the independence of women and Fundamentalism....maybe I found too much. The period accuracy is compelling. I somehow feel compelled to read more of Pamuk's works.
If you liked The Name of the Rose, you will love it, if your looking for Cadfael....don't bother and look elsewhere.
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