The museum of innocence by Orhan Pamuk

Source – library

Translator – Maureen Freely

Orhan Pamuk won the nobel prize in 2006 ,he was the first Turkish citizen to win a nobel prize .he is professor of comparative literature at Columbia university ,he has been at odds at times with his own country about its past he has had a number of books translated into in english by Maureen Freely that has also done the Istanbul memories book and his novel snow .,this book like his book Istanbul memories of a city which I read and I feel probably inspired this book in a lot of ways Istanbul is like an extra character at times

Well Museum of innocence is an epic book ,it has scope and vision it use the Janus like city of Istanbul ,a city torn between the arabic and western world ,between old and new ,also between classes .The book is a history of a love affair between   a lowly shop girl and a much older businessman ,now I know what you are thinking this is going be a book about a dirty old man ,a new Lolita  .W ell no it is a bout true love in its purest sense ,about obsession ,class and society within turkey who are these people ? the lowly shop girl Fusun is beautiful the sort of girl who stops men in the track but she is only a shop girl ,the man is Kemal he is heir ,a man railroad into marriage by expectations of his class to keep the status quo going .so they embark on a 20 year affair ,The clandestine couple meet at an apartment ,this place becomes the home of the museum of innocence as Kemal start converting every thing about Fusun ,he has put this lowly girl on a pedestal ,over the course of the book we see the affair unfold and the collecting of items increase greatly .

During my eight years of going to Keshkins for supper ,I was able to squirrel away 4,213 of Fusun’s cigarette butts .Each one of these had touched her rosy red lips and entered her mouth ,some even touching her tongue and becoming moist ,as I would discover when I put my finger on the filter soon after she had stubbed the cigarette out ,the stub ,reddened by her lovely lipstick bore the unique impression of her lips .

Kermal gathering items for his collection .

This book is the best of the four I ve read by Pamuk ,he even writes himself into the story at a couple of points being observed at some parts .I found this love affair touching and sad touched with the sadness of what should have been in a different world .The apartment is a bit like bridge  that cross the Bosphorus connecting the two parts of the city ,in this case the apartment connects two classes of Istanbul .There is something timeless about the story ,I can see this being popular for a long time due the love ,obsession ,city and characters that make up Museum of innocence .the book is on the IFFP short list

Istanbul the heart of this story .


23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 03:10:21

    I read it and loved it, Stu. I like your allusion to Janus, very apt.
    My thoughts are here:


  2. Becky (Page Turners)
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 04:30:10

    This sounds soooo romantic. I actually own it but have never read it. Will look forward to it now.


  3. Tom C
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 07:27:38

    I MUST read some Panuk. I keep promising myself to do so then never getting round to it. This one looks a great place to start


  4. mlynxqualey
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 09:31:19

    I wouldn’t say that Museum of Innocence is my favorite Pamuk (that would be a hard one) but I still loved it, particularly for its echoes of In Search of Lost Time.


  5. Mel u
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 12:09:32

    I have yet to read any works by Panuk-the book stores here in Manila all have several of his works-what do you think would be a good first work?-Your post has for sure captured my interest


  6. Petty Witter
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 14:11:06

    I can’t say I know this author but hope to be able to find/reserve a copy of this at our library as you have inspired me with your review.

    Many thanks for your best wishes on my 2nd bloggoversary, I enjoy our visits and appreciate your support.


  7. The Book Whisperer
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 21:26:56

    I keep eyeing this book up, Stu, and after this review I think I will have to give in a read it. Lovely review too – your reviews have so much more scope these days (not that there was anything wrong with your early days ones, don’t get me wrong Stu) but I am really enjoying reading them. Keep up the great work! 🙂


    • winstonsdad
      Apr 19, 2011 @ 23:24:07

      Thanks boof ,I took a step back recently and decide to blog bit less and put more in my reviews if possible ,hope you choose it I think you will like it ,all the best stu


  8. Geosi
    Apr 20, 2011 @ 11:16:06

    I have not yet read any book by Pamuk but his name and books are all over the place. I think it is about time I set off search for his books. Thanks for recommending this book.


  9. amymckie
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 13:28:35

    I really enjoyed the one Pamuk book that I’ve read so far and look forward to reading more. You definitely have me intrigued on this one Stu!


  10. uread
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 10:50:36

    “The Museum of Innocence” – set in Istanbul between 1975 and today – tells the story of Kemal, the son of one of Istanbul’s richest families, and of his obsessive love for a poor and distant relation, the beautiful Fusun, who is a shop-girl in a small boutique. The novel depicts a panoramic view of life in Istanbul as it chronicles this long, obsessive, love affair between Kemal and Fusun; and, Pamuk beautifully captures the identity crisis esperienced by Istanbul’s upper classes who find themselves caught between traditional and westernised ways of being. Out now on uRead!


  11. JoV
    May 02, 2011 @ 09:41:43

    I had two of his books “My Name is Red” and “Snow” I need to get cracking on it. Did you say this is one of the best of all his 4 books?! wow, I really must read this one. thanks for the recommendation Stu. 🙂


  12. Trackback: A strangeness in my mind by Orhan Pamuk | Winstonsdad's Blog
  13. Angelina Hue
    Dec 13, 2015 @ 21:22:37

    I enjoyed reading Museum of Innocence and had reviewed it too ( What makes this work even more special is that Orhan Pamuk had written this love story as a catalogue for the bricks and mortar Museum of Innocence that he created.


  14. Trackback: The Innocence of Memories by Orhan Pamuk | Winstonsdad's Blog

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April 2011


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