Tag Archives: Orhan Pamuk

“The Red-Haired Woman” by Orhan Pamuk

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From the first pages, I realised that I missed Pamuk’s writing.

I read “My name is Red” couple of years ago and I liked it a lot.

“The red-haired women” is both surprising and unnerving. The story is build around the father-son relationship in different generations, from mythology to the story of the main character – Cem. Cem’s relationship with his father, a well digging master and later – his own son  are painted in all the shades of guilt, regret, revolt, admiration. As if unable to cope with all these emotions, fathers and sons end up with blood on their hands. It is in essence an exploration of the evolution of the meaning of fatherhood.

The end section narrated by the red-haired woman, brightens up a bit the finale. As “The Guardian” puts is “The twist in the tail isn’t perhaps quite as effective as that in My Name Is Red, but it still makes the reader feel as if they’ve emerged from the depths of a well into sudden and dazzling light.”

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A lonely Christmas? Time to change perspective

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You’ve probably come across the article on “Top ten Christmas health risks” on BBC Health News by Fergus Walsh on

I am appreciative of his intention to keep us warned. Although enough warnings have been sent out this December with the entire Maya Calendar fuss. Paying attention to what we eat, how we behave, how much we drink, how safe are our kids are all to the point. I have to admit, these are valid not only for the festive season.
What made my brain raise a ‘ni-ni-ni” voice was the last paragraph: “10. Lonely this ChristmasThere’s only one thing worse than being surrounded by your relatives at Christmas and that’s not being surrounded by them. Someone callsSamaritans every six seconds but the charity says the idea that Christmas is the busiest time of year is something of a myth”.”138976886 Well, this is a rather pessimistic outlook, isn’t it? While I appreciate the reality, it is us who create our reality. We are all special. And special attracts special. And why not spend alone a Christmas? Is solitude in a time like Christmas that bad? See how time alone at Christmas turned out for TAMSIN OXFORD. She used it, in her own words to “reconnect with herself and enjoy the solitude”: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1340002/My-lonely-Christmas-Dumped-depressed-writer-fled-Vienna-spend-holiday–changed-life-good.html.I value time alone as it gives the beautiful chance to listen to the voices inside, which have been otherwise silent or censured by others’ voices and expectations. It is an opportunity to do an internal soft audit, go through different perspectives and simply appreciate the time with thoughts and moods which are meaningful to you. One may be surrounded by people at Christmas, and yet cry in their solitude.There are other options. For instance,  go to Orhan Pamuk for advice: “Even at the end of my life, there is still plenty that made me smile:1. Children-They represent what is vital in the world.

2. Sweet memories of handsome boys, beautiful women, painting well and friendship.

3. Seeing the masterpieces of old masters.” (“My Name is Red”)

You certainly have your own list of beauties. And these are just eye discoveries of what our mind already knows.  Those who value you will be there, before and after Christmas.

I remember my grandmother, a mother of 6, often alone on Christmas after her kids left home and just happy to see some of us the second or third day after Christmas.

Or maybe there is just a need for loneliness, for a change. “The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself”, Douglas Coupland.

Whatever it is, focus on Christmas, not on ‘lonely’.

Count your blessings and come back refreshed! Enjoy your Christmas wherever you are!

„My name is Red” by Orhan Pamuk

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I am happy my “Read all Nobel Prizes in Literature’ project took me to the Turkish land of the 16th century.

I finished the book. Wished it would have lasted for at least few extra dozens of pages. It’s a dazzling story of a murdered artist in the Istanbul of that time. The story surrounds very talented miniaturists who have been commissioned by the  sultan to illustrate  a book to celebrate his life and times. One of them disappears and here it goes…

It is an unusual book. Each of 59 chapters takes the reader to a different planet. With a renewed passion and freshness. From the world viewed by a corpse, coin, horse to a world seen and told about by a  murderer, color red, two dervishes. I’ve learned tons of facts from Ottoman history, traditions, culture, beliefs, values. On a basic human dimension, the universal lunge for love (which is mentioned 321 times) is omnipresent.

It’s a book to love: it’s quite inspirational – yielded inspiration for at least two dozens of posts. To exemplify but few „paining is the silence of thought and the music of sight’, ‚God must’ve wanted the art of illumination to be ecstasy so He could demonstrate how the world itself is ecstasy to those who truly see’. „Beauty is the eye discovering in our world what the mind already knows’…

My deepest appreciations go also to the translator, Erdağ M. Göknar. His choice of words has given the best gift a reader can hope for: total loyalty to and authenticity of atmosphere.

Infidels

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I am one quarter done with ‚My name is Red’ by Orhan Pamuk (part of my committment to read all Nobel Prize writers). I think is the first Turkish author I read and it appeals to my previous oriental lives. It’s the best ‚walk in my shoes’ perspective I came across so far. Particularly because there are so many different and diverse narrators: a corpse, a coin, dervishes, colour red… . Try to look at something from a coin point of view and it may be such an enlightening experience :).

So back to infidels. To islam these are christians. To christians these are muslims. Let see how far a dictionery would take an infidel. So, an infidel is a unbeliever, a sceptic, a heretic, an agnositc, a heathen, a nonconformist, a freethinker.

Is a cheating parners an infidel? From his/her point of view he/she is a freethinker and freedoer maybe.  An emancipated person! A free spirit! I was very much amused by the buzz around divorce news of a high level politician in a country I am working at the moment.  A new trend has been set, with calls for freeing people from marriages ‘declared dead for some time’. These became heroes on social networks. Applauded for steeping out of orthodox patterns. Freeing themselves and freeing others, for what ever reason and for what ever costs.

I ask myself if ending a marriage is a duty in the name of search for oneself? Why are then these searches end up with 2-3 or even 4 divorces? or is a divorce an attempt to escape from the true nature of oneself? Is the answer in the other? Is the answer in our own ways, looks, spirits, hearts? Is the other one to blame for keeping his/her partner in a marriage for the sake of social conventions, children or simly of ‚what would others say”? I would say yes, if from the very beginning these were reasons to get married. Often young ladies would tell me they want to get married (I am not a matchmaker and truly try to avoid that, but for some reason they keep coming to me :)). When asked ‚why’, they do not know or respond with one of the above – „my mother says so’, ;what would people say if I am not married by age of’ …

Taking sides and making affirmation on behalf of those divorcing is a tricky business. Even they may not know the answer. It may come from the pillow at the end of their lives on Earth. If ever.