- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (7 April 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571218318
- ISBN-13: 978-0571218318
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Snow Paperback – 7 Apr 2005
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'An act of bravery... A vital book.' --Daily Telegraph
'Profound and frequently brilliant... Illuminate[s] the confrontation between secular and extremist Islamic worlds better than any work of non-ficition I can think of.' --New Statesman
'A novel of profound relevance to the present moment.' --The Times
Snow by Orhan Pamuk is the bestselling story of a poet seeking his lost love in a remote Turkish town riven by religious conflict and cut off from the world by a blizzard.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
One underlying theme of the book was that the protagonist Ka is living in exile in Germany (a situation many Turkish intellectuals & political activists found themselves in, following the 1980 coup d'etat in Turkey) in a small state-subsidied apartment, a lonely outsider in a foreign culture. All this alienation and need to belong are, I feel, behind his thought that it would be a good idea to marry a girl he has fancied back when they were both little, and even his rapproachment with the religious groups.
The whole thing is a nod to feelings of isolation reported by the poor, uneducated, "rural" Turks who went as factory workers to Europe decades ago, and whose descendants still import brides from Turkey. The book seems to be saying that those of us who are better educated, who consider ourselves above our "rural" countrymen, are still the same down inside, with the same cultural longings.
Another theme is the play on names. All Turkish names and surnames mean something, and most are words that are still commonly used in everyday language - Rock, Fire, War, Peace, Rain, Water, etc are all given names in Turkey. The two female characters in the book are Ipek ("Silk") and Kadife ("Velvet"), for example.
Going back to the play on words - KARS is the name of the city, 'Snow' is 'KAR' in Turkish, and KA is the name of the main character.Read more ›
Ka is an outsider. He begins as a dutiful journalist, talking to a variety of town figures, trying to learn more about the suicides, but finds himself drawn into this larger conflict. Throughout the country, and especially in this region, it is no longer the Kurds that are perceived by the authorities as being the greatest threat, but the increasingly influential Islamists. Ka, respected as a poet but tainted as one who has presumably been polluted by Western thought and ways, is viewed with both suspicion and interest by both sides. The police are reluctant to rough him up - as they do the locals - because of his Istanbul and German connexions, while the Islamists see him as the enemy but warily accept that he might be able to help convey their message. Eventually, he is also used as a go-between by both sides.
It is the desire to write a book about the poems written by Ka that leads the narrator - an alter-ego Orhan Pamuk, and long-time friend of Ka's - to tell this story.Read more ›
In places the prose is brilliantly inventive. There is a whole chapter comprising a taped final conversation between a murderer and his victim (it's chilling, because you know how it will end). The alternations between the present day and four years previously work very well. A powerful subplot revolving around a book of lost poetry reflects the mood of the whole novel wonderfully. The reviewer who describes this as "Dostoevsky without a plot" is not so far off the mark, but Pamuk doesn't aim for the richness of characterisation Dostoevsky specialised in. He's more in the business of evocative, symbolic description. His settings are as alive as his characters, if not more so.
Pamuk's cities are achingly beautiful, but they're also creepy, claustrophobic and waiting to knife you in the back. Stepping into a Pamuk novel is at the same time like looking over a glorious panorama and like looking under your bed. In Snow, Kars is brought to life with the skill a Pamuk fan would expect. My only caveat is that it's not as compelling as The Black Book, a stunning evocation of 1980s Istanbul. If you want a full idea of what this sensational novelist is capable of, try The Black Book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd like to try and cut through all the criticisms that I've read here after just finishing the novel and say something about Pamuk and novels in general. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tristan
This was so promising – a novel about an agnostic reporter who comes home to a Turkish town to investigate why Muslim girls are committing suicide, apparently over an argument... Read morePublished 7 months ago by TMPlym
I am not a "big" fan of what I had read earlier by Orhan Pamuk. I liked My Name is Red but found it a bit long and intense, and I could not read beyond a few pages of... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dirk Gently
Snow cleverly explores a number of themes to be found in Pumak's other works. Foremost of these a sense of melancholy that he has described as endemic to modern Turkish culture. Read morePublished on 20 Dec. 2013 by DXW
This book caught my attention immediately. A political thriller based on East meets West and Islam vs Secularism in Eastern Turkey. A Nobel prize winning author. Read morePublished on 25 Nov. 2013 by Jeffers
I bought this for my daughter who had been looking for this title for some time so I haven't actually read the book but was very pleased at the condition as it was a "used"... Read morePublished on 31 July 2013 by Diane McG