I didn't quite know what to expect of Istanbul, having read all of the author's fiction. I suspected it might be a little strange, and rather melancholic. Pamuk's study of his home town turned out to be a non-linear, dip-into read. It is engrossing and lyrical and a great testament to Pamuk's writing that it doesn't come across as self-obsessed or egomaniacal as Pamuk is clearly fascinated by his family/family legacy. In a more self-indulgent writer this could be rather irksome, but in Pamuk's (and translator Maureen Freely's) hands it becomes seductive and soothing. I spent time in Istanbul in the late 80s and I never really got the hang of the city, didn't understand how/why it worked. I wish this book had been around then as I would approach the place completely differently.