Sunday, 17 April 2011













Lured by the cover (just look at the old car!) and by the possibility that our next Literature class may be on World Cities I picked this book up. One of the first suggestions in the class when we discussed the topic of books on cities was Pamuk's Istanbul and I can see why it topped the list. I still have his 'Museum of Innocence' on my TBR pile but this was irresistible when I saw it in my library. So as always my own books are languishing in an ever growing stack, while I delve into another borrowed one. This book has pictures of the old Istanbul that Pamuk grew up in and his memoir interweaves the political with the personal, so rich in its detail that I need to savour it slowly. He paints the picture of the dilemma of the city with empathy, as it struggles with both Westernisation and the traditional Islamic society. As the chapters are in a chronological order it also offers a fascinating glimpse of his childhood in 'Pamuk' apartments. A book that is more than a travelogue it gives a wonderful insight into a city that had the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire at its heyday. I am relishing reading it.

2 comments:

Happy Reader said...

That is indeed a gorgeous cover, Leela. I have it in my bookshelf for so long. Your review wants me to read it sooner than later. I hope I do. Thanks for this write-up!

Leela Soma said...

Thanks for the comment Chitra. Must warn you the book is not something you'd read in one go at least I didn't. I took my time to read and take it in slowly, I'm sure you'll enjoy it, but it is a memoir not a proper travelogue but charmingly different. I've only had an airport stop at Istanbul, I would love to visit it one day.

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