I like long books: Dickens, John Cowper Powys. Something you can really get your teeth into. A book that lasts, that becomes something of a bible. This one really tried my patience. In the second half I found myself doing what I had to do in college to so many chunky Victorian novels because of the pressure of time, speed reading. I have read many of Pamuk’s novels because I find Istanbul, its politics and history intriguing. This book reminds me of the music of the seventies, prog rock solos which were over indulgent and went on far too long. As other reviewers have commented, the first half of the book is interesting and draws you in as the main strands of the plot unfold but then it becomes too predictable and the tragic ending is sign posted and inevitable. The main problem is one cannot sympathise with the characters and if you don’t care about them then there is not much point in reading any book. Kemal is childish in his obsessions and Fusin seems flighty and superficial. I welcomed the ending! I would like to compare Pamuk with Carlos Luis Zafon, another writer who sets his novels in an important capital city, Barcelona. But the characters, plot lines and sense of humour put The Angel’s Games and Shadow of the Wind amongst others on a completely superior level; books which I will keep and reread because of the myriad layers and intricate plotting. For a book to be as long as this one there simply has to be more going on, more development of character. Kemal is one of the least attractive main characters in any book I have read. And for this reason the The Museum of Innocence is doomed to failure.
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