Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed author of My Name Is Red
(“a sumptuous thriller”–John Updike; “chockful of sublimity and sin”–New York Times Book Review
), comes a spellbinding tale of disparate yearnings–for love, art, power, and God–set in a remote Turkish town, where stirrings of political Islamism threaten to unravel the secular order.
Following years of lonely political exile in Western Europe, Ka, a middle-aged poet, returns to Istanbul to attend his mother’s funeral. Only partly recognizing this place of his cultured, middle-class youth, he is even more disoriented by news of strange events in the wider country: a wave of suicides among girls forbidden to wear their head scarves at school. An apparent thaw of his writer’s curiosity–a frozen sea these many years–leads him to Kars, a far-off town near the Russian border and the epicenter of the suicides.
No sooner has he arrived, however, than we discover that Ka’s motivations are not purely journalistic; for in Kars, once a province of Ottoman and then Russian glory, now a cultural gray-zone of poverty and paralysis, there is also Ipek, a radiant friend of Ka’s youth, lately divorced, whom he has never forgotten. As a snowstorm, the fiercest in memory, descends on the town and seals it off from the modern, westernized world that has always been Ka’s frame of reference, he finds himself drawn in unexpected directions: not only headlong toward the unknowable Ipek and the desperate hope for love–or at least a wife–that she embodies, but also into the maelstrom of a military coup staged to restrain the local Islamist radicals, and even toward God, whose existence Ka has never before allowed himself to contemplate. In this surreal confluence of emotion and spectacle, Ka begins to tap his dormant creative powers, producing poem after poem in untimely, irresistible bursts of inspiration. But not until the snows have melted and the political violence has run its bloody course will Ka discover the fate of his bid to seize a last chance for happiness.
Blending profound sympathy and mischievous wit, Snow illuminates the contradictions gripping the individual and collective heart in many parts of the Muslim world. But even more, by its narrative brilliance and comprehension of the needs and duties
From the Hardcover edition.
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 poetnamed 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 memoriesof 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 returnswith 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 ofimmense relevance to our present moment.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
After years of lonely political exile, Turkish poet Ka returns to Istanbul to attend his mother's funeral and learns about a series of suicides among pious girls forbidden to wear headscarves.
Losing touch with his creative nature by years of lonely political exile, Turkish poet Ka returns to Istanbul to attend his mother's funeral and learns about a series of suicides among pious girls forbidden to wear headscarves, a story that brings him face-to-face with militant Islam, a new romance, and his own atheism. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.
About the Author
Orhan Pamuk’s novel My Name Is Red won the 2003 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in Istanbul.
Table of Contents
The journey to Kars -- The outlying districts -- Poverty and history -- Ka meets İpek in the New Life Pastry Shop -- The first and last conversation between the murderer and his victim -- Love, religion, and poetry: Muhtar's sad story -- At party headquarters, police headquarters, and once again in the streets -- Blue and Rüstem -- A nonbeliever who does not want to kill himself -- Snow and happiness -- Ka with Sheikh Efendi -- The sad story of Necip and Hicran -- A walk through the snow with Kadife -- The dinner conversation turns to love, head scarves, and suicide -- At the National Theater -- Necip describes his landscape and Ka recites his poem -- A play about a girl who burns her head scarf -- A revolution onstage -- The night of the revolution -- While Ka slept and when he woke the next morning -- Ka in the cold rooms of terror -- Sunay Zaim's military and theatrical careers -- With Sunay at military headquarters -- The six-sided snowflake -- Ka with Kadife in the hotel room -- Blue's statement to the west -- Ka urges Turgut Bey to sign the statement -- Ka with İpek in the hotel room -- In Frankfurt -- A short spell of happiness -- The secret meeting at the Hotel Asia -- On love, insignificance, and Blue's disappearance -- The fear of being shot -- The mediator -- Ka with Blue in his cell -- Bargaining in which life vies with theater, and art with politics -- Preparations for the play to end all plays -- An enforced visit -- Ka and İpek meet at the hotel -- The first half of the chapter -- The missing green notebook -- From İpek's point of view -- The final act -- Four years later, in Kars.