My Name is Red


in Books and literature, Daily updates

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.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

antonia December 10, 2006 at 11:53 am

Very similar reaction when I read it – this book only escaped going onto my ‘to be sold’ pile because it was an inscribed present. The aspect you didn’t mention which I enjoyed was the history of islamic but representational art, but the characters were (deliberately, I thought) unappealing, and the ending very unsatisfying.

Milan December 27, 2006 at 9:04 pm

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