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.

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