26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A Mind at Peace - A joy to read,
This review is from: A Mind at Peace (Hardcover)
I had never read anything by Tanpinar before picking up this book in an Istanbul bookshop. Now I want to read everything he's ever written! For those who know Istanbul, it is a panegyric of the Bosphorus. For those who don't, there are many interwoven stories, but the one which remains with me is the meeting of two hearts, two souls over a piece of music. Tanpinar's lyric descriptions helped me understand Turkish classical music for the first time. I have already returned to re-read the sections on music and have no doubt I will re-read the book someday (something I almost never do). A Mind at Peace belongs with the "great books" of world literature. The physical book itself is lovely, the paper quality made its pages a pleasure to turn. I don't know Turkish well enough to comment on the translation itself, but the English was mellifluous and a great pleasure to read; sometimes near the borders of French-English, I do know French and wondered at times if the translator was a product of the Istanbul or French French-Turkish school system. There were unfortunately some small editing errors that might have been avoided. The book lacked two things, in my opinion. First, it needs a "list of characters" at the beginning, with the sex of each character stated, to aid those who are not familiar with Turkish names. I have thought of giving this book as a gift, but would create a list to tuck in the front, or for use as a bookmark, were I to give it to friends who know nothing of Turkey. Then, again for those unfamiliar with Istanbul, a map of the Bosphorus, with place names mentioned, or even of Istanbul with all place names pointed out, would be helpful to the reader. Were this book to be even more perfect in its production, perhaps a drawing of a traditional Turkish house, and of buildings of Taksim/Beyoglu, of musicians playing the instruments mentioned, would be helpful. Clever bookshops will place a cd of the music mentioned in the book next to the book, and recommend the purchase of the cd as well.