Monday 21 April 2014

Pamuk, Orhan "Snow"

Pamuk, Orhan "Snow" (Turkish: Kar) - 2002

Ka is a Turkish poet who lives in Germany but visits a town in Turkey called Kars. While he is there, they have a heavy snowfall and nobody can leave or enter the town. The Turkish name for snow is "kar". What a coincidence!

Anyway, while he staying in Kars, a revolution is taking place in the little city. We can follow the way of this from the early beginnings, we can see every little piece of what those who want to overthrow the government want, what they are prepared to do, and what the government tries to do to repulse them. Because this takes place in a small town, it is easy to see the whole picture.

I know the author is not much liked in certain circles in his country and this is the book where I understand it best. Nobody likes criticism, especially if you know you're wrong. I admire him even more after this book which is certainly not his easiest one.

Orhan Pamuk manages to point out the differences between East and West, to draw a clear images of the political problems Turkey is facing and still writing a beautiful story in the midst of it all. I think I mentioned before that I love this author. Even if I wasn't interested in what is going on in Turkey at all, I still would like to read his books, he has a great writing style. And he manages to create a new world in every one of his books.

From the back cover:

"Dread, yearning, identity, intrigue, the lethal chemistry between secular doubt and Islamic fanaticism–these are the elements that Orhan Pamuk anneals in this masterful, disquieting novel. An exiled poet named Ka returns to Turkey and travels to the forlorn city of Kars. His ostensible purpose is to report on a wave of suicides among religious girls forbidden to wear their head-scarves. But Ka is also drawn by his memories of the radiant Ipek, now recently divorced. Amid blanketing snowfall and universal suspicion, Ka finds himself pursued by figures ranging from Ipek’s ex-husband to a charismatic terrorist. A lost gift returns with ecstatic suddenness. A theatrical evening climaxes in a massacre. And finding god may be the prelude to losing everything else. Touching, slyly comic, and humming with cerebral suspense, Snow is of immense relevance to our present moment."

Orhan Pamuk "who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures" received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.

Orhan Pamuk received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friedenspreis) in 2005.
I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.


  1. It sounds like one I need to read. I finished his Museum of Innocence and it still haunts me. We lived in Turkey for 2 years (Izmir) and I always find stories about Turkey interesting.

  2. I don't think you "need" to read any but I guess you like similar books than I do, so you might want to try more of his books.My favourites so far have been My Name is Red and Istanbul - Memories of a City

    Hope you have a great week,

    1. Oh, and I meant to say it must have been wonderful to have lived in Turkey. I once was offered to go but had just accepted another job in Belgium. Well, that was nice, too but not as exotic.