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The Museum of Innocenceby Maureen Freely
Synopses & Reviews
“It was the happiest moment of my life, though I didn’t know it.” So begins the new novel, his first since winning the Nobel Prize, from the universally acclaimed author of Snow and My Name Is Red.It is 1975, a perfect spring in Istanbul. Kemal, scion of one of the city’s wealthiest families, is about to become engaged to Sibel, daughter of another prominent family, when he encounters Füsun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distant relation. Once the long-lost cousins violate the code of virginity, a rift begins to open between Kemal and the world of the Westernized Istanbul bourgeosie—a world, as he lovingly describes it, with opulent parties and clubs, society gossip, restaurant rituals, picnics, and mansions on the Bosphorus, infused with the melancholy of decay—until finally he breaks off his engagement to Sibel. But his resolve comes too late.For eight years Kemal will find excuses to visit another Istanbul, that of the impoverished backstreets where Füsun, her heart now hardened, lives with her parents, and where Kemal discovers the consolations of middle-class life at a dinner table in front of the television. His obsessive love will also take him to the demimonde of Istanbul film circles (where he promises to make Füsun a star), a scene of seedy bars, run-down cheap hotels, and small men with big dreams doomed to bitter failure.In his feckless pursuit, Kemal becomes a compulsive collector of objects that chronicle his lovelorn progress and his afflicted heart’s reactions: anger and impatience, remorse and humiliation, deluded hopes of recovery, and daydreams that transform Istanbul into a cityscape of signs and specters of his beloved, from whom now he can extract only meaningful glances and stolen kisses in cars, movie houses, and shadowy corners of parks. A last change to realize his dream will come to an awful end before Kemal discovers that all he finally can possess, certainly and eternally, is the museum he has created of his collection, this map of a society’s manners and mores, and of one man’s broken heart.
A stirring exploration of the nature of romantic attachment and of the mysterious allure of collecting, The Museum of Innocence also plumbs the depths of an Istanbul half Western and half traditional—its emergent modernity, its vast cultural history. This is Orhan Pamuk’s greatest achievement.
Ending his engagement to pursue a married cousin, Kemal unsuccessfully woos the woman over the course of nine years, during which he amasses personal effects that reflect his obsession and render him a laughingstock among his peers. By the Nobel Prize-winning author of My Name Is Red.
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 Fusun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distantrelation, 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 Fusun over the next eightyears, 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 winningthe Nobel Prize is a stirring exploration of the nature of romance.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. His novel My Name Is Red won the 2003 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages. He lives in Istanbul.
Table of Contents
The happiest moment of my life — The Şanzelize boutique — Distant relations — Love at the office — Fuaye — Füsun's tears — The merhamet apartments — Turkey's first fruit soda — F — City lights and happiness — The feast of the sacrifice — Kissing on the lips — Love, courage, modernity — Istanbul's streets, bridges, hills, and squares — A few unpalatable anthropological truths — Jealousy — My whole life depends on you now — Belkis's story — At the funeral — Füsan's two conditions — My father's story: pearl earrings — The hand of Rahmi Efendi — Silence — The engagement party — The agony of waiting — An anatomical chart of love pains — Don't lean back that way, you might fall — The consolation of objects — By now there was hardly a moment when I wasn't thinking about her — Füsun doesn't live here anymore — The streets that reminded me of her — The shadows and ghosts I mistook for Füsun — Vulgar distractions — Like a dog in outer space — The first seeds of my collection — To entertain a small hope that might allay my heartache — The empty house — The end-of-summer party — Confession — The consolations of life in a Yali — Swimming on my back — The melancholy of autumn — Cold and lonely November days — Fatih hotel — A holiday on Uludağ — Is it normal to leave your financée in the lurch? — My father's death — The most important thing in life is to be happy — I was going to ask her to marry me — This is the last time I'll ever see her! — Happiness means being close to the one you love, that's all — A film about life and agony should be sincere — An indignant and broken heart is of no use to anyone — Time — Come again tomorrow, and we can sit together again — Lemon Films, Inc. — On being unable to stand up and leave — Tombala — Getting past the censors — Evenings on the Bosphorus, at the Huzur Restaurant — To look — To help pass the time — The gossip column — The fire on the Bosphorus — The dogs — What is this? — Cologne — 4,213 cigarette stubs — Sometimes — Broken lives — You hardly ever come here anymore, Kemal Bey — Life, too, is just like love ... — Füsun's driving license — Tarik Bey — The İnci Patisserie — The cinemas of Beyoğlu — The Grand Semiramis Hotel — Summer rain — Journey to another world — After the accident — The Museum of Innocence — Collectors — Happiness.
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