This morning, I finished Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red. The fact that I left the last fifteen pages of this mystery story unread for a day is not a good sign. Indeed, each of the potential murderers was so similar that the final revelation felt a bit trivial. One pretentious and vindictive illustrator rapidly blurs together with all the others. Likewise, the potentially interesting commentary about European influences on Islamic art quickly became repetitive. The best part about the book were the vignettes presented by the coffee shop storyteller, as he personified a gold coin, a dog, and other similar things. I also very much appreciate my mother’s consideration in sending me such a book just before my trip to Turkey.
Given Pamuk’s acclaim, it seems most sensible to say that the book was simply not for me. Just as I can appreciate bits of Joyce, without appreciating the sweep of his longer books, the same can be said with regard to this novel. Time permitting, I will read my father’s copy of Pamuk’s non-fiction book Istanbul over the remainder of the trip.