Monday, December 21, 2009

Memory lane

It's an amazing thing. After just a few pages of The Museum of Innocence, Orhan Pamuk's new novel (which I started on the flight to San Diego today), the whole world of Pamuk's tribe in Nisantasi was as real to me as when I was physically in Istanbul this summer. Something to do, I suppose, with the fact that I was weaving my way through the lines of his earlier book The Black Book while there, building on a foundation of the earlier Istanbuls of My Name Is Red and The White Castle - secret... longed for... imagined... forgotten... invented...

Is there any contempo- rary who writes as compellingly about memory, about objects saturated with it, irradiated by history, personal and generational? Apparently Pamuk's opening an actual museum displaying the objects around which (or from which) The Museum of Innocence weaves its tale. Next time I'm in Istanbul - and it's feeling inevitable again that I shall go - will I go there and feel it is a museum of my own memories, a memorial to my own innocence?

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