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Silent Houseby Orhan Pamuk
Synopses & Reviews
Never before published in English, Orhan Pamuk’s second novel is the story of a Turkish family gathering in the shadow of the impending military coup of 1980.
In an old mansion in Cennethisar, a former fishing village near Istanbul, a widow, Fatma, awaits the annual summer visit of her grandchildren. She has lived in the village for decades, ever since her husband, an idealistic young doctor, ran afoul of the sultan’s grand vizier and arrived to serve the poor fishermen. Now mostly bedridden, she is attended by her constant servant Recep, a dwarf—and the doctor’s illegitimate son. Despite mutual dependency, there is no love lost between mistress and servant, who have very different recollections—and grievances—from the early years, before Cennethisar grew into a high-class resort surrounding the family house, now in shambles.
Though eagerly anticipated, Fatma’s grandchildren bring little consolation. The eldest, Faruk, a dissipated historian, wallows in alcohol as he laments his inability to tell the story of the past from the kaleidoscopic pieces he finds in the local archive; his sensitive leftist sister, Nilgün, has yet to discover the real-life consequences of highminded politics; and Metin, a high school nerd, tries to keep up with the lifestyle of his spoiled society schoolmates while he fantasizes about going to America—an unaffordable dream unless he can persuade his grandmother to tear down her house.
But it is Recep’s nephew Hasan, a high school dropout, lately fallen in with right-wing nationalists, who will draw the visiting family into the growing political cataclysm issuing from Turkey’s tumultuous century-long struggle for modernity.
By turns deeply moving, hilarious, and terrifying, Silent House pulses with the special energy of a great writer’s early work even as it offers beguiling evidence of the mature genius for which Orhan Pamuk would later be celebrated the world over.
"Nobel Prize — winner Pamuk's spirited and spellbinding second novel, previously unpublished in English, follows a Turkish family as they come together in a fishing village outside Istanbul prior to a military coup in 1980. Narrated by a talented cast of performers, including Emrhys Cooper, John Lee, Jonathan Cowley, and Juliet Mills, this memorable audio edition proves to be an engaging production that will enchant listeners with its understated performances and superb pacing. Cooper and Lee are the true standouts, delivering stellar turns that resonate long after the final chapter. However, the entire cast is solid, its members boasting spot-on voices, dialects, and characterizations. This early work from Pamuk is brought to life — and fans will not be disappointed. A Knopf hardcover." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Never before published in English, Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk's second novel is the moving story of a family gathering the summer before the Turkish military coup of 1980.
In a crumbling mansion in Cennethisar (formerly a fishing village, now a posh resort near Istanbul) the old widow Fatma awaits the annual summer visit of her grandchildren: Faruk, a dissipated failed historian; his sensitive leftist sister, Nilgun; and the younger grandson, Metin, a high school student drawn to the fast life of the nouveaux riches, who dreams of going to America. The widow has lived in the village for decades, ever since her husband, an idealistic young doctor, first arrived to serve the poor fishermen. Now mostly bedridden, she is attended by her faithful servant Recep, a dwarf—and the doctor's illegitimate son. Mistress and servant share memories, and grievances, of those early years. But it is Recep's cousin Hassan, a high school dropout and fervent right-wing nationalist, who will draw the visiting family into the growing political cataclysm, in this spellbinding novel depicting Turkey's tumultuous century-long struggle for modernity.
About the Author
ORHAN PAMUK won the Nobel Prize for Literature. His novel My Name Is Red won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His work has been translated into more than 50 languages. The author lives in Istanbul.
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