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Silent House Paperback – 1 Aug 2013
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Praise for Orhan Pamuk: "Essential reading for our times.... In Turkey, Pamuk is the equivalent of a rock star, guru, diagnostic specialist, and political pundit: the Turkish public reads his novels as if taking its own pulse." --Margaret Atwood, "The New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Never before published in English, Silent House, Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk's second novel is the moving story of a family gathering in the political shadow of the impending revolution of 1980.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I found myself wandering through the narrative until an uneasy suspicion that there was a tragedy about to ensue.
As with all my favourite Pamuk books, I put this down when I finished it and felt. I felt devastated and experienced a rolling wave of catharsis. The only other author that makes me feel this way when I finish reading is Beryl Bainbridge.
I finished the book a week ago, but my mind keeps picking at it when I least expect it.
To discuss plot and characters within the work would almost unpick the pleasure of discovering both.
I love to visit Turkey (particularly Istanbul) and Pamuk helps me be there when I have work the next morning. A great author of our age. I am overjoyed that this has been translated so that English readers may experience more of his work.
The story of the novel takes place in the background of the military coup that took place in Turkey, three years before the release of this book, precisely one month before the September 12th 1980 when Gen. Kenan Evren and Turkish armed forces have introduced order in the country after the conflicts of nationalists and communists, and remained in power until 1983 when democratic order was reestablished.
The background of these historical events is very present in this novel which connects tradition, transition of Turkish society and intergenerational tensions.
Family gathering is going to happen in a fishing village near Istanbul, where Fatma who is 90-year old widow of local doctor will be visited in a regular summer visit from her three grandchildren.
The story is told by Fatma, her three grandchildren and Fatma servants.
First grandchild, Faruk, who is a historian, continues to work on the manuscript of his father and grandfather, who is a sort of encyclopedia telling a little about everything in Turkey.
Another grandchild is Niljun, beautiful student and leftist activist who regularly buys communist newspapers and dreams to live in a world created on the Soviet model.
A third grandson Metin, is a high school student who dreams of the promised life in America, cultivating peanut somewhere in Georgia. He wants to leave his country and don't see why his grandmother shouldn't sell her property and give him the money to realize his dreams.Read more ›
This book is Pamuk's second published work and is markedly different from his latter masterpieces - the works that we are more familiar with like Snow, My Name is Red or The White Castle. It is not as mysterious, magnificent or witty in comparison but definitely shows the writer's strength in keeping his audience entrapped with his story telling.
The backdrop of the story is a coastal tourist spot. Three young people arrive here from Istanbul to pay a visit to their octogenarian, invalid grandmother who lives alone in a big, decaying house in the care of a devoted but oppressed dwarf servant called Recep. And to visit the graves of their deceased parents.
The decaying house is symbolic of all that happens in the story. The grandmother Fatma is an embittered matriarch. A Turkish version of Miss Havisham, Fatma is still reeling from the bitterness of her disastrous marriage to an idealistic doctor Selahattin who brought her away from those she knew and loved into an obscure small place, chasing dreams that never materialised. His extremely modern religious and political views and alcoholism in later life still manage to enrage her so many years after his death.
Here arrives Faruk, Nilgun, and Metin. Faruk is an alcoholic like his father and grandfather. He is a divorced professor disillusioned with life. Nilgun is a young woman with leftist views while the youngest Metin is a young student desperately looking for love - and sex - and money which he believes will all be his when he is able to go to America.Read more ›
There is the same mastery of the here and now, but always with a foreboding of dark days that are to come as a consequence of present misdeeds and misunderstandings. Perhaps Pamuk's characters are not so tempestuous and mercurial as Dostoyevsky's characters, but there is the same sense that they are locked into and lost in history's labyrinth.
In the "Silent House" the young protagonists are caught up not only in Turkey's turbulent history, but also in the tangled mess that their grandfather has made of attempting to take Turkey towards the light of Western Enlightenment. The ramifications are sad, almost tragic in this excellent novel, but there is a never a sense that all is lost!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An early novel and disappointing compared to his later work - not surprising I supposePublished 9 months ago by Rozfran
I did not like the way that each chapter was a different person but still in the first person singular. A rather pointless plot!Published 13 months ago by Goodone
Dreadful book: no plot, characters who are dull and generally not very pleasant, completely nutty ideas about what people might, or might not think about life and more... Read morePublished on 1 July 2014 by Ginny P
Not really my kind of book. Think alot lost in translation. Interesting to read about a completely different culture but did not engage with the characters.Published on 25 May 2014 by Labrador14
Read this book with our book group. None of us liked it as there was no story. We wondered all the way through when something was going to happen. Read morePublished on 26 April 2014 by Liz vashti
Orhan Pamuk is one of the most interesting authors I have read in a long time. His novels are a key to a deeper understanding of the skism between the western world (Europa) and... Read morePublished on 16 Feb. 2014 by knut sellevold