My Name Is Red

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My Name Is Red

by Orhan Pamuk
Translated by Erdag Goknar

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | August 28, 2001 | Hardcover

My Name Is Red is rated 5 out of 5 by 3.
From one of the most important and acclaimed writers at work today, a thrilling new novel—part murder mystery, part love story—set amid the perils of religious repression in sixteenth-century Istanbul.

When the Sultan commissions a great book to celebrate his royal self and his extensive dominion, he directs Enishte Effendi to assemble a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed, and no one in the elite circle can know the full scope or nature of the project.
Panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears, and the Sultan demands answers within three days. The only clue to the mystery—or crime?—lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Has an avenging angel discovered the blasphemous work? Or is a jealous contender for the hand of Enishte’s ravishing daughter, the incomparable Shekure, somehow to blame?

Orhan Pamuk’s My Name Is Red is at once a fantasy and a philosophical puzzle, a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex, and power.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 448 pages, 3.76 × 2.56 × 0.55 in

Published: August 28, 2001

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375406956

ISBN - 13: 9780375406959

Found in: Literary

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pamuk's novel:magical and powerful ! " I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well.  Though I drew my last breath long ago and my heart has stopped beating, no one, apart from the vile murderer, knows what's happened to me." From this begging, narrated in first person, the novel drive the reader for a magical, erudite and unique way to tell a story. Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006, gives as another side of how narrate a mystery settled in the sixteenth century in Istanbul.  My Name is Red, exquisite novel, is one of those essential books of our universal literature. This is a piece of arts to enjoy in our days. I strongly recommend this book to someone interested in literature, the real one! 
Date published: 2014-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wonderful read... It is one of the most interesting, most beautifully written books out there. You should give it a try.
Date published: 2013-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book that will test your attention to detail "My name is red" is a very different book in many ways....hard to read...but beautifully written. The book relates to the world of book illustrations in the 16-17 century Turkey and it's been written in such a way that it resembles that illustration style, with an insane amount of detail and requesting a lot of attention. Once you get into it though you would very much feel like there is nothing like it....something like the beautiful ship in the bottle. Orhan is a master at bringing hot social issues forward and showing how mankind has hard struggled all along to solve them and there is still much to do despite the technological progress. For all interested in art history, history, sociology i recommend this book 100%.
Date published: 2013-11-29

– More About This Product –

My Name Is Red

by Orhan Pamuk
Translated by Erdag Goknar

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 448 pages, 3.76 × 2.56 × 0.55 in

Published: August 28, 2001

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375406956

ISBN - 13: 9780375406959

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 I Am a Corpse I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well. Although I drew my last breath long ago and my heart has stopped beating, no one, apart from that vile murderer, knows what''s happened to me. As for that wretch, he felt for my pulse and listened for my breath to be sure I was dead, then kicked me in the midriff, carried me to the edge of the well, raised me up and dropped me below. As I fell, my head, which he had smashed with a stone, broke apart; my face, my forehead and cheeks, were crushed; my bones shattered, and my mouth filled with blood. For nearly four days I have been missing: My wife and children must be searching for me; my daughter, spent from crying, must be staring fretfully at the courtyard gate. Yes, I know they''re all at the window, hoping for my return. But, are they truly waiting? I can''t even be sure of that. Maybe they''ve gotten used to my absence-how dismal! For here, on the other side, one gets the feeling that one''s former life persists. Before my birth there was infinite time, and after my death, inexhaustible time. I never thought of it before: I''d been living luminously between two eternities of darkness. I was happy; I realize now that I''d been happy. I made the best illuminations in Our Sultan''s workshop; no one could rival my mastery. Through the work I did privately, I earned nine hundred silver coins a month, which, naturally, only makes all this even harder to bear. I was responsible for painting a
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From the Publisher

From one of the most important and acclaimed writers at work today, a thrilling new novel—part murder mystery, part love story—set amid the perils of religious repression in sixteenth-century Istanbul.

When the Sultan commissions a great book to celebrate his royal self and his extensive dominion, he directs Enishte Effendi to assemble a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed, and no one in the elite circle can know the full scope or nature of the project.
Panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears, and the Sultan demands answers within three days. The only clue to the mystery—or crime?—lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Has an avenging angel discovered the blasphemous work? Or is a jealous contender for the hand of Enishte’s ravishing daughter, the incomparable Shekure, somehow to blame?

Orhan Pamuk’s My Name Is Red is at once a fantasy and a philosophical puzzle, a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex, and power.

From the Jacket

From one of the most important and acclaimed writers at work today, a thrilling new novel--part murder mystery, part love story--set amid the perils of religious repression in sixteenth-century Istanbul.
When the Sultan commissions a great book to celebrate his royal self and his extensive dominion, he directs Enishte Effendi to assemble a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed, and no one in the elite circle can know the full scope or nature of the project.
Panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears, and the Sultan demands answers within three days. The only clue to the mystery--or crime?--lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Has an avenging angel discovered the blasphemous work? Or is a jealous contender for the hand of Enishte''s ravishing daughter, the incomparable Shekure, somehow to blame?
Orhan Pamuk''s "My Name Is Red is at once a fantasy and a philosophical puzzle, a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex, and power.

About the Author

Orhan Pamuk is the author of six novels and the recipient of major Turkish and international literary awards. He is one of Europe''s most prominent novelists, and his work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in Istanbul.

Author Interviews

A Conversation with Orhan Pamuk author of My Name Is Red Q. You have used the rather unusual device of telling this story through many narrators. In fact, no two consecutive chapters are in the same voice. Why did you structure the novel this way? What challenges did this structure present? A. It was so much fun to impersonate my characters! I enjoyed finding the voice of a sixteenth century ottoman miniaturist, a mother of two children who is looking for a husband, the voice of her kids, the demonic voice of a murderer, and the narrative of a dead man on his way to heaven. Not only my characters speak in my story but objects and colors as well. I thought all these distinctive voices would produce a rich music—the texture of daily life in Istanbul four hundred years ago. These shifts in viewpoint also reflect the novel’s main concern about looking at the world from our point of view versus the point of view of a supreme being. All of this is related to the use of perspective in painting; my characters line in a world where the restrictions of perspective do not exist so they speak in their own voice with their own humor. Q. One of the characters—the younger son of your heroine Shekure—is called Orhan. Is he your alter ego? A. Orhan is not my alter ego; he is me. Most of the details and some of the anecdotes of the lonely mother and her son’s relationship are derived from my own experience. I also kept my mother’s and brother’s names i
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Editorial Reviews

"It is neither passion nor homicide that makes Pamuk''s latest, My Name is Red , the rich and essential book that it is. . . . It is Pamuk''s rendering of the intense life of artists negotiating the devilishly sharp edge of Islam 1,000 years after its brith that elevates My Name is Red to the rank of modern classic. . . . To read Pamuk is to be steeped in a paradox that precedes our modern-day feuds beteween secularism and fundamentalism." --Jonathan Levi, Los Angeles Times Book Review "Straddling the Dardanelles sits the city of Istanbul . . . and in that city sits Orhan Pamuk, chronicler of its consciousness . . . His novel''s subject is the difference in perceptions between East and West . . . [and] a mysterious killer... driven by mad theology. . .Pamuk is getting at a subject that has compelled modern thinkers from Heidegger to Derrida . . . My Name is Red is a meditation on authenticity and originality . . . An ambitious work on so many levels at once." --Melvin Jules Bukiet, Chicago Tribune "Most enchanting . . . Playful, intellectually challenging, with an engaging love story and a full canvas of memorable characters, My Name is Red is a novel many, many people will enjoy." --David Walton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Intensely exhilarating . . . Arresting and provocative . . . To say that Orhan Pamuk''s new novel, My Name is Red, is a murder mystery is like saying that Dostoevsky''s The Brothers Karamazov is a murder mystery: it is t
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Bookclub Guide

A Conversation with

Orhan Pamuk
author of

My Name Is Red

Q. You have used the rather unusual device of telling this story through many narrators. In fact, no two consecutive chapters are in the same voice. Why did you structure the novel this way? What challenges did this structure present?
A. It was so much fun to impersonate my characters! I enjoyed finding the voice of a sixteenth century ottoman miniaturist, a mother of two children who is looking for a husband, the voice of her kids, the demonic voice of a murderer, and the narrative of a dead man on his way to heaven. Not only my characters speak in my story but objects and colors as well. I thought all these distinctive voices would produce a rich music—the texture of daily life in Istanbul four hundred years ago. These shifts in viewpoint also reflect the novel’s main concern about looking at the world from our point of view versus the point of view of a supreme being. All of this is related to the use of perspective in painting; my characters line in a world where the restrictions of perspective do not exist so they speak in their own voice with their own humor.

Q. One of the characters—the younger son of your heroine Shekure—is called Orhan. Is he your alter ego?
A. Orhan is not my alter ego; he is me. Most of the details and some of the anecdotes of the lonely mother and her son’s relationship are derived from my own experience. I also kept my mother’s and brother’s names in the story. The rivalry between the brothers, their constant quarrels, fights, and their negotiations about peace and jealousy of their mother are autobiographical. By carrying the details of my childhood into my historical novel, I hoped to give it a personal dimension.

The challenge of a historical novel is not to render a perfect imitation of the past, but to relate history with something new, enrich and change it with imagination and sensuousness of personal experience.

Q. What kind of research did you have to do to write a novel of such rich historical detail?
A. It took me six years to write this book. Of course, I spent a lot of time reading books and looking at picture, but I rarely thought that of it as "research." I’ve always enjoyed what I was reading and I read what I enjoyed. Ottomans were great record keepers and the records of the governor of Istanbul were well kept and published. So, for hours I used to read the prices of various clothes, carpers, fish or vegetables in Istanbul markets in a given year. This led to interesting discoveries; for example, I learned that barbers also performed circumcisions or pulled teeth for the right prices.

As for researching the paintings, that was more personal because beginning at the age of six, I’ve always thought that I would be a painter. When I was a kid I used to copy the Ottoman miniature that I came across in books. Later, I was influenced by Western painting and stopped painting when I was twenty when I began writing fiction.

Q. Could you explain the paradox of the miniaturist who achieves the heights of greatness only by going blind.
A. The paradox here is based on a very reasonable train of thought: If you were a medieval painter, your craft would be based on imitation and repetition (not on originality as is so often now claimed). The more you imitate and repeat, the more perfect you are. After years of painting and re-painting the same scenes and subjects, my painters’ begin to memorize. These are the beginning of the idea that a master painter does not need to see what he creates.

Q. Does the conflict between the Islamic painting aesthetic and the Western one have significance for you beyond the historical one? Are you trying to suggest something about two very distinct ways of viewing the world?
A. To be influenced by the western ways of portraiture is a dilemma for the traditional Islamic painter who is devoted to repetition and purification of traditional forms. Beyond this lie two different ways of seeing, painting, and even representing the world. One is that of seeing the world through the eyes of any individual person—looking at things from our humble point of view. The other is seeing the world through God’s eyes, from high above as the Islamic painters did, and perceiving the totality of, say a battle from above. The latter is more like seeing with the mind’s eye, rather than the eye itself.

I tried to tell my story in the manner of these Persian masters. These two distinctive ways of seeing the world and narrating stories are of course related to our cultures, histories, and what is now popularly called identities. How much are they in conflict? In my novel they even kill each other because of this conflict between east and west. But, of course, the reader, I hope, realizes that I do not believe in this conflict. All good art comes from mixing things from different roots and cultures, and I hope My Name is Red illustrates just that.

Q. Who are some of the writers and artists who have influenced you?

A. I am forty-eight, and at this age the idea of influence makes me nervous. I’d rather say that I learn and pick-up things from other authors. I’ve learned from Thomas Mann that the key to pleasures of historical fiction is the secret are of combining details. Italo Calvino taught me that inventiveness is as important as history itself. From Eco, I’ve learned that the form of the murder mystery can be gracefully used. But I have learned most from Marguerite Yoursenar; she wrote a brilliant essay about the tone and language in historical fiction.

What inspired me most for My Name is Red were the Islamic miniatures. Thousands of little details from countless miniatures that I’ve looked at took their place in the novel. Behind these scenes of love and war lie the classical Islamic texts because the miniatures were always drawn to illustrate the best scenes of stories that once upon a time everyone knew by heart and today, because of westernization, very few remember. My Name is Red is a homage to these forgotten stories and the wonderful pictures drawn for book lovers of the time.

Q. Your book had the largest first print run of any novel ever published in Turkey. How does that make you feel, and why do you think this novel had such broad appeal? How do you think the American audience will respond to this novel?
A. When a book sells that much in my part of the world the journalists always ask questions about the mysteries of the sales rather than the mysteries of the text. I always say that I do not know why the book sells that much. I cannot predict the response of the American reader either. But I always worry about such matters…Then, of course, I feel guilty about my worldly worries.
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