Plot introduction[ edit ] The events of this story take place in 17th century Istanbul. The story is about a young Italian scholar sailing from Venice to Naples who is taken prisoner by the Ottoman Empire. Soon after, he becomes the slave of a scholar known as Hoja master , a man who is about his own age, and with whom he shares a strong physical resemblance. Hoja reports to the Pasha , who asks him many questions about science and the world. Gradually Hoja and the narrator are introduced to the Sultan , for whom they eventually design an enormous iron weapon. The slave is told to instruct the master in Western science and technology, from medicine to astronomy.
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Early life[ edit ] Pamuk was born in Istanbul , in , and he grew up in a wealthy yet declining upper-class family; an experience he describes in passing in his novels The Black Book and Cevdet Bey and His Sons, as well as more thoroughly in his personal memoir Istanbul: Memories and the City.
From ages 22 to 30, Pamuk lived with his mother, writing his first novel and attempting to find a publisher. He describes himself as a Cultural Muslim who associates the historical and cultural identification with the religion while not believing in a personal connection to God. Popular success took a bit longer to come to Pamuk, but his novel Kara Kitap The Black Book became one of the most controversial and popular books in Turkish literature , due to its complexity and richness.
By this time, Pamuk had also become a high-profile figure in Turkey, due to his support for Kurdish political rights. In , the year-old Nobel Laureate held an exhibit spotlighting an array of photos of Istanbul taken from his own balcony, named "Balkon: Photos by Orhan Pamuk". The exhibit features more than photos selected from over 8, taken by Pamuk using a telephoto lens over a five-month period, "a period of intense creativity," according to the statement.
The novel blends mystery, romance, and philosophical puzzles in a setting of 16th century Istanbul. It opens a window into the reign of Ottoman Sultan Murat III in nine snowy winter days of , inviting the reader to experience the tension between East and West from a breathlessly urgent perspective. For the first 10 years, I worried about money and no one asked how much money I made. The second decade I spent money and no one was asking about that. Set in the border city of Kars , it explores the conflict between Islamism and Westernism in modern Turkey.
Snow follows Ka, an expatriate Turkish poet, as he wanders around the snowy Kars and gets caught up in the muddle of aimless Islamists, MPs, headscarf advocates, secularists, and a number of factions who die and kill in the name of highly contradictory ideals.
It requires imagination, a sort of morality, a self-imposed goal of understanding this person who is different from us, which is a rarity. Pamuk created an actual Museum of Innocence , consisting of everyday objects tied to the narrative, and housed them at an Istanbul house he purchased. It has been noted[ by whom? In , Pamuk invited Grazia Toderi , whose work he admired, to design a work for the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul.
Their collaboration culminated in the exhibition Words and Stars. It is also a novel of ideas in the tradition of the French conte philosophique. In mids Istanbul, Master Mahmut and his apprentice use ancient methods to dig new wells; this is the tale of their back-breaking struggle, but it is also an exploration—through stories and images—of ideas about fathers and sons, authoritarianism and individuality, state and freedom, reading and seeing.
Throughout runs the demonic voice of the eponymous red-haired woman. Asked how personal his book Istanbul: Memories and the City was, Pamuk replied: I thought I would write Memories and the City in six months, but it took me one year to complete.
And I was working twelve hours a day, just reading and working. I thought if I were to be weak I would have a depression. But every day I would wake up and have a cold shower and sit down and remember and write, always paying attention to the beauty of the book. Honestly, I may have hurt my mother, my family. My father was dead, but my mother is still alive. They are often disturbing or unsettling, and include complex plots and characters.
His works are also redolent with discussion of and fascination with the creative arts, such as literature and painting. Pamuk himself said that his works have been inspired by the writings of rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam [ citation needed ]. Next question? This period also included a visiting fellowship at the University of Iowa. Pamuk returned to Istanbul, a city to which he is strongly attached. In , they were divorced. In , Pamuk returned to the U. In the — academic year Pamuk returned to Columbia to jointly teach comparative literature classes with Andreas Huyssen and David Damrosch.
Pamuk was also a writer-in-residence at Bard College. Orhan publicly acknowledged his relationship with Kiran Desai , Booker prize winner of Indian origin. In Bilecik , his books were burnt in a nationalist rally. On 27 March , Pamuk was found guilty and ordered to pay 6, liras in total compensation to five people for, among others, having insulted their honor. In the interview, Pamuk stated, "Thirty thousand Kurds have been killed here, and a million Armenians.
And almost nobody dares to mention that. So I do. But we have to be able to talk about the past. In October, after the prosecution had begun, Pamuk reiterated his views in a speech given during an award ceremony in Germany: "I repeat, I said loud and clear that one million Armenians and 30, Kurds were killed in Turkey.
On 1 December, Amnesty International released a statement calling for Article to be repealed and for Pamuk and six other people awaiting trial under the act to be freed. The announcement occurred in a week when the EU was scheduled to begin a review of the Turkish justice system. An Ankara-based EU diplomat reportedly said, "It is good the case has apparently been dropped, but the justice ministry never took a clear position or gave any sign of trying to defend Pamuk".
Pamuk himself gave the closing address. In the lecture he allegorically spoke of relations between Eastern and Western civilizations using the theme of his relationship with his father.
Whenever I am confronted by such sentiments, and by the irrational, overstated language in which they are usually expressed, I know they touch on a darkness inside me. We have often witnessed peoples, societies and nations outside the Western world—and I can identify with them easily—succumbing to fears that sometimes lead them to commit stupidities, all because of their fears of humiliation and their sensitivities.
I also know that in the West—a world with which I can identify with the same ease—nations and peoples taking an excessive pride in their wealth, and in their having brought us the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and Modernism, have, from time to time, succumbed to a self-satisfaction that is almost as stupid.