It is 1975, a perfect spring in Istanbul. Kemal and Sibel, children of two prominent families, are about to become engaged. But when Kemal encounters Füsun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distant relation, he becomes enthralled. And once they violate the code of virginity, a rift begins to open between Kemal and the world of the Westernized Istanbul bourgeoisie. In his pursuit of Füsun over the next eight years, Kemal becomes a compulsive collector of objects that chronicle his lovelorn progress—amassing a museum that is both a map of a society and of his heart. Orhan Pamuk’s first novel since winning the Nobel Prize is a stirring exploration of the nature of romance.
Nobel laureate Pamuk's latest is a soaring, detailed and laborious mausoleum of love. During Istanbul's tumultuous 1970s, Kemal Bey, 30-year-old son of an upper-class family, walks readers through a lengthy catalogue of trivial objects, which, though seeming mundane, hold memories of his life's most intimate, irretrievable moments. The main focus of Kemal's peculiar collection of earrings, ticket stubs and drinking glasses is beloved F sun, his onetime paramour and longtime unrequited love. An 18-year-old virginal beauty, modest shopgirl and poor distant relation, F sun enters Kemal's successful life just as he is engaged to Sibel, a very special, very charming, very lovely girl. Though levelheaded Sibel provides Kemal compassionate relief from their social strata's rising tensions, it is the fleeting moments with fiery, childlike F sun that grant conflicted Kemal his deepest peace. The poignant truth behind Kemal's obsession is that his museum provides a closeness with F sun he'll never regain. Though its incantatory middle suffers from too many indistinguishable quotidian encounters, this is a masterful work.
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from what I consider to be one of the most intelligent writers of our times. He appears to be extremely methodical in developing his story, and his exposition of it. But obviously he had a grander plan in writing the book, and I was not shocked when I went online after finishing the book to find out that there is indeed a Museum of Innocence in Istanbul. The book is a must read for those who would like to understand some elements of the Istanbul culture (would not call it Turkish culture) especially during the 70s, part of a society that considers itself European but constantly struggles with its past. I look forward to visiting Istanbul, and visit the museum at my earliest opportunity.
Great reding outstanding end
Reading this book is clear to me why Pamuk got the Nobel Prize (the book was written post he became a Laureate). Incredible descriptions of the city, social events and relevant conversations.
The Museum of innocence
Although the almost scientific analysis of the complexity of human relationships reminds me of Proust, this is an entirely original, masterfully crafted novel. Like Proust' Remembrance it's mere volume helps the accumulation of experience mimic the alchemy of time. What would appear as neurotic if said in twenty pages seem like the natural sedimentary product of the discrete beads of time in this monumental novel. I understand Pamuk intends to open a museum. I would definitely visit it if/when I visit Istanbul!