My Initial Thoughts on My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk #Turkish #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread #review

I’ve started reading Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red. I’m about a third of the way into the story, which is set in Istanbul in the 16th century. This story is the 2006 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The paperback consists of 418 pages, with 1 map of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, and an historical chronology of events related to the story. I perused the map before I started reading but not the chronology until a bit later. That helped me to understand fact from fiction as I continue reading, which is a good thing to have some grasp on.

One of the interesting aspects of this narrative is that it’s written in multiple points of view in first person. Each chapter is written in a different point of view, mostly of people but also of objects and drawings. I mean, it’s interesting to read about the point of view of a gold coin and its travels, or a drawing of a dog or even a tree and what the depiction is meant to represent. It’s a unique approach to telling a murder mystery, that’s for certain!

I’m learning more about Turkish literature, and about the Koran, through the eyes of the characters and objects. One of the reasons I enjoy historical fiction is the opportunity to learn about other cultures and histories. This blog series that I’m working my way through is all about Historical Fiction Around the World by authors from countries around the world. I’m not including American authors only because that’s the kind of historical fiction I’ve mostly read and I want to expand my reading.

I am enjoying the story and the writing style. It’s interesting and funny too. I mean, Chapter 3 is entitled “I Am A Dog” and includes, “I’m a dog, and because you humans are less rational beasts than I, you’re telling yourselves, ‘Dogs don’t talk.’ Nevertheless, you seem to believe a story in which corpses speak and characters use words they couldn’t possibly know. Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” That paragraph made me laugh out loud! And wonder…

I’ll share more about the story and my impressions next time. Happy reading!


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