Jump to content


Recommended Posts

This was a really good read, the story is based on a mans return to a Turkish village where there has been a large number of teen girl suicides, and also a group of Turkish girls who all insist on wearing their headscarves as a political message as they have been banned in local schools and colleges. He goes back to the village under the pretence of writing an articla about these issues, but secretly to see the now divorced girl he fancied in college.

I thought the author successfully managed to combine the two opposing parts of the story together, love and politics.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had this on my TBR pile for a while, having read "My Name is Red" a couple of years back.


One thing I am curious about, katrina, is if you found "Snow" an easy read. I ask because I've been putting reading more Pamuk off as I found "My Name is Red" hard, slow going, although it was ultimately impressive. On that basis, I wanted to save my next novel of his for a time when I can concentrate on it properly (in other words, potentially forever).


"My Name is Red" does suffer in comparison with the similar "The Name of the Rose", which would come near the top of my all time favourite novels list, but I'd recommend it with the caution above if you want to read another Pamuk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read it last year, but I wasn't overly impressed. It was okay, but somewhat heavy-handed. It took me a whole month to read it: it wasn't bad enough for me to give up, but it wasn't good enough for me to pick it up very often--it even helped me re-discover solitaire (that's not a joke, I spent more time playing solitaire on my PDA that month than I did reading the ebook).


The best parts of the novel are the interesting way that the narrative is framed and the glimpse into Turkish life. There is also a fair bit of symbolism, particularly regarding snow.


Interestingly, I found it quite similar to The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, not so much in terms of plot, but for the remote setting and the fundamentalist nature of the people in that location--not to mention the authors' views on God. However, I think The Name of the Rose is the better novel as it is more subtle.


Is it a difficult novel? I'd say that it is somewhat difficult. The plot, language, and characters are all very straight forward, but some of the ideas regarding Ka's poetry are a little tough going, especially his thoughts on dividing up the components of the human mind.


My main problems with Snow were the uninteresting characters, the uninteresting story, and the uninteresting language (but that one may be the translator's fault). The other thing that bothered me was the blatant anti-Muslim/pro-Western stance the novel takes. Pamuk's idea is simple: Muslims are ignorant, Westerners are brilliant, the Turkish government and media are not doing their job. Having come from a Western country, I see that he is at least 1/3 wrong in that area, he may be 1/3 right in one area, and the other 1/3 is such a generalization as to be dubious. I was all the more disappointed with this novel when I recently read--in The Guardian, I think--that Pamuk set himself the task of "identifying with the Muslims" when he wrote this novel. If this is him identifying with someone, I'd really hate to see what he's like when he's scathing.


Like I said before, I thought Snow was okay, and I will read more by him someday, but my initial reaction is that I sure wouldn't have given him the Nobel Prize after this one (unless, of course, politics is the deciding factor). Now, having said all of that, I'd certainly be willing to read it again in a few years to see if my impression has changed, not to mention my understanding of the symbolism and ideas. I certainly don't think anyone would be wasting their time by reading it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I read "Snow" last year ...well, I think that the idea on which the book is based is great, but I didn't like the way the novel is written.

I mean that a comparison between two types of fundamentalism, islamic and lay, is surely interesting, but Pamuk missed this opportuny linking the political theme to a tasteless, and boring, love story.

Besides, even the story of Ka himself is "overflowing".

What a shame! This novel could be written and thought in a better way.

In spite of all that, I have to admit that are recognizable some signs of talent, such as the chapters dealing with the little "coup d'état"; and for these reasons, perhaps, Pamuk will be worth to be read at least one time again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

This book is about a poet who travels back to his hometown in Turkey, Kars, where there is a suicide epidemic amongst it's young women. The town is about to have its local elections and the Islamist Party are set to win which causes an eruption of violence.


Well PHEW is all I have to say about this book, well no I have plenty to say lol. It wasn't what I expected and it sort of turns your view of Muslim women upside down. In this book the women actually want to wear headscarves but are being forced to take them off and girls wearing headscarves were banned from school and protest for the right to wear them. It is people standing in the way of their religious beliefs, some claim, that is leading to the young women committing suicide. However the book focuses on the political situation in Kars as a whole with radical Islamists and those agaisnt what they call the "opressions" of the religion (eg they don't want women to wear headscarves) who end up being just as radical in themselves.


The book is also about Ka's own spiritual journey and although he claims to have found God while in Kars other things he says suggests he mocks deeply religious people. That was one thing, although I can't think of an example now, characters seemed to contradict themsleves. I also felt you couldn't get really close to the characters as the story starts while they're well into their lives so it doesn't really start at the beginning if you know what I mean. There's the feeling throughout that you're not being told something about the characters or the situation in Kars. The characters didn't seem to react to big events either like when Ka and Ipek witnessed a shooting while in a pastry shop, Ipek just said "We'd better go" then Ka immediately meets someone else and says "The Director of the Education Institute has been shot" not "I'VE JUST WITNESSED A MAN BEING KILLED!" although there are references to the fact Ka has seen military coups throughout his childhood so perhaps he's seen enough death. Then there is when Sunay Zaim tells the journalist to write a story for the next day "Actor shot during live performance" and no one bats an eyebrow. :confused: Also when the police came to pick Ka up after he witnessed the shooting he is at someone else's place of business and the police, rifle through the man's things then take him to the police station and beat him up and apparently the character was "expecting it", WHY?! He was the leader of the Islamist Party but the military coup hadn't happened at that point and no explanation was given to why the police took him in and it was a question I seemed to ask a lot reading the book: why? Perhaps it just shows the violence of the time with random police beating etc.


The book it written in a really depressing tone, which was perhaps the author's intention as it reflects the misery of Kars. I found myself irritated with characters like Necip and the other religious high school boys saying things like if "If Kadife bares her head I will kill myself" and although Ka seemed to like the boys and thought them "innocent" they just reminded me with their opinions on atheism and other things to be young terrorists in the making :rolleyes: . Again perhaps this was the author's intention as constant reference was made to how "Westerners" look down on them and at the end of the book one character makes the point that no one should believe what is written in the book that no one could understand them "from so far away".


Finally is this true? Is Orhan Pamuk a real author or another persona created by an author? Orhan is the narrator and he refers another of his books as well as his daughter? Was Ka real? I'll do more research.


Why do I have the feeling no one else will have read this anyway? :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loved Pamuk's My Name is Red, which I read sometime last year. Next on the list was Snow which I read last October. I don't remember it in detail now, but something of the essence of it remains with me. Here are my comments from last year.

"What a sad and desolate character Ka was, I never really figured just why he came to Kars. I’m still not sure he really knew either. Maybe I missed something but didn’t the narrator suddenly appear halfway through? Although a strange and disconcerting story I knew I had to finish it, if only to find out who survived and who didn’t, but it wasn’t just that, Pamuk’s writing once again drew me right in, encapsulated me and kept me engrossed to the last page."


And yes this is what happened, I like the writing so much I stayed with it to the end, didn't really think of giving it up, but there were many unanswered questions. Maybe at some time I will read it again, but with so many more to get through.......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally is this true? Is Orhan Pamuk a real author or another persona created by an author? Orhan is the narrator and he refers another of his books as well as his daughter? Was Ka real? I'll do more research.

Pamuk is a post-modernist, and this is one such technique that some authors use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't notice which forum this thread was in - and was suddenly hopeful we could all get our sledges out tomorrow....


Don't mind me, I'll go now.


(I have read "My Name is Red" though. It was unusual in that my husband heard it being discussed on a Radio 4 book programme and was so convince I would love it that he spent ages trying to track down a copy of it for me. Not having properly remembered either the title or the author - just having a description of what it was about. he must have met some very helpful bookshop staff, I think.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^^^If your'e in England you surely can today! :D


Reading this thread I feel I've over-analysed things lol. I certainly thought Orhan Pamuk was saying out thngs weren't all as they seem from the West's point of view. Heck I don't know lol what I do know was it was a hard read, if interesting.


Oh and thank you SlowRain. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Similar Content

    • By Momo
      My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk - 2001
      Every year, when the new nobel prize winners are announced, I wait eagerly for the one for literature. Seldom have I been disappointed with their books. This year is no exception.
      Orhan Pamuk is one of those rare authors who seems to have reinvented the art of writing. His style is quite unique. Even though he settles his story in the 13th century, it applies actual problems and facts in a way nobody else seems to be able to do. I can't wait to read more of his books, he is absolutely fabulous.
      I started this thread in January but it was lost in the crash.
    • By Binker
      First of all, about placement. This book was published in Turkish in 1990, but wasn't translated into English until 2006. I put it in 20th Century because that's when it was originally published, although most English speakers won't have read it until this century.
      The main character of this book is Galip, whose beloved wife (and cousin), Ruya, and her half-brother and a famous Istanbul columnist, Celal, have disappeared. The book follows Galip's search for them.
      The book alternates the story with columns written by Celal on a variety of subjects, all of them interesting. Some are fanciful (the Bosphorus dries up and you can suddenly see all the junk at the bottom, which reminded me a bit of the anime movie "Spirited Away," which my son and I love), some are cultural (a good amount of discussion of Rumi), and some provide local Istanbul color (a mannequin maker whose mannequins are ignored because they look like Turkish people and not the preferred Westerners). I enjoy that kind of writing and enjoyed it in this book.
      The book appears most of all to occupy itself with identity, both personal and cultural. Neither people nor a culture can ever be happy unless they are themselves, but that is much harder to accomplish than one might wish.
      There is also a lot of discussion about finding God or at least finding the holy within oneself. While I know something about Islam and a little bit about Rumi, I could tell that I would have gotten more out of the book if I knew more and I would have gotten a lot more out of the book if I had grown up in that culture or at least one where reading about someone being thrown down a well would have instantly reminded me about the fate of one of Rumi's closest confidantes. Of course I didn't catch that reference until I read more about Rumi on line (and that reminded me of My Name is Red, too, which means I missed a bunch of cultural allusions there). But even without those advantages, I still found the book engrossing and thought-provoking.
      There were also times, though, when I felt that I had no idea what was going on. These clueless interludes didn't last too long, which is why I stuck with the book, but they were there and it was the part of the book that I enjoyed the least. But overall, I would strongly recommend this book.
  • Create New...