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review 2015-08-29 20:51
'The Museum of Innocence' by Orhan Pamuk
The museum of innocence - Orhan Pamuk

This book immediately grabbed me as I read its first pages, and I enjoyed it from beginning to end. It is a story about a young man who falls in love with a beautiful woman but spoils everything. Most of the book is about his regret at what happened and his efforts to regain the love of the woman who he comes to idolize, even creating a private 'museum' of memorabilia associated with her. The only problem I had was (maybe because the book is written in the first person) thinking the protagonist was Orhan Pamuk (the author) and getting confused when Orhan himself appeared in the book as a minor character. I then had to backtrack and re-read a lot of it to correct my misapprehension! But. nevertheless, a wonderful book that I would recommend to anyone who is or has experienced that kind of 'lovesickness' for someone.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-08-15 15:43
How to feel in love without an object
The museum of innocence - Orhan Pamuk

I first heard of this book when during my time in Istanbul I was taken to the Museum of Innocence, after which the book is named. By the time we had to leave (it was an organised excursion), I had only managed to see around five exhibits and I had a lump in my throat. I was still working on it on my return flight.

 

What I really like about this love story is how it recognises the importance of the idea of time to love. Those who have experienced love will be able to point out how it is the stretching and the shortening of time that defines it so well, and The Museum of Innocence repeatedly insists that the only way that love can be seen in time is in moments. To some extent this reminds me of Love in the Time of Cholera, which also relied on time to express the idea of love. Pamuk's character starts collecting objects and describing places (the novel is set in Istanbul) to talk about his love when it sees no action - after all, Kemal spends around eight years visiting a flat to dine and then watch television in the company of his beloved, her husband and her parents. This love extends to his collection and to his city, when the story stops being about Kemal and Fusun and makes you realise - or remember - the comforting capability of human nature.

 

It's a good book to remember when you next are tempted to feel alone. You know that Alan Bennett quote from the Waterstone's billboards - "The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours." Ah, this is it.

 

By the way, I was baffled by the Guardian quote on the front, saying 'An enthralling, immensely enjoyable piece of storytelling'. It is not strictly speaking incorrect, but 'enthralling', 'immensely enjoyable' and 'storytelling' are not the words that come to mind after reading this book.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-09-07 10:03
A compelling book
The Museum of Innocence - Orhan Pamuk,Maureen Freely

I bought this book after finishing Istanbul Memories of a City as I wanted to continue to stay in Istanbul and learn more about the city. I had just visited Istanbul in February this year and was so mesmerized by it that I wanted to learn more, continue to dig my mind into it. While Istanbul Memories of a City reads more like a biography the museum of innocence is a fiction narrated by Kemal, over a 30 years life span. This book had me hooked in a strange way, I wanted to give up on reading it, as I had the feeling that nothing was happening, page after page it sounded too predictable and it kind of drove me insane that nothing ever happened between the two protagonists, Kemal and Füsün for so long, in a way I found Kemal's obsession with Füsün similar to the one of the Princesse de Clèves by Madame de Lafayette  that I had to study in French literature.  Somehow each time I told myself I can't take this any more,  how can Kemal be so passive, accept to give up on his free will, become so dominated but is he really? Orhan Pamuk manages to intrigue the reader and creates a kind of similar obsession that Kemal is experiencing, somehow it is fantastic writing, it is a courting that goes on for years, in a society where everything goes really fast, Ohran Pamuk slowed everything down, pacing the story to the rhythmic beat of a heart, creating expectations and slugging the whole story down again and again. I still can't say if I loved or hated this book, it will not leave you blasé, it will unsettle you,  create discomfort and will remain as a very strong memory, something which rarely happens with a book.

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review 2013-04-07 10:40
The Museum of Innocence
The Museum of Innocence - Orhan Pamuk,Maureen Freely A pesar de que una odia al personaje principal, es una historia compleja, donde no hay blancos ni negros sino muchos tonos de grises. Amor, desesperación, sueños, todo enmarcado en la vida cosmopolita de Estambul de mediados del siglo XX. El uso que hace Pamuk del lenguaje es maravilloso (sospecho que también el traductor tiene mucho que ver).
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review 2012-12-11 00:00
The Museum of Innocence - Orhan Pamuk,Maureen Freely http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/gallery/2012/apr/27/orhan-pamuk-museum-innocence-pictures
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