The Museum of Innocence

I just realized that Orhan Pamuk, one of my favorite writers and winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize, has a new novel out— in Turkish. The Museum of Innocence was released on August 29, 2008 in Turkish and Maureen Freely’s translation will appear in US/UK bookstores on October 20, 2009.  I guess we’ll just have to wait.

I was so taken by his novel Snow that I drove up to Santa Barbara in 2007 to hear him speak on his Other Colors book tour.  I was surprised by his sense of humor—he made the audience laugh over and over. Also, he talked about the importance of understanding “the other.” He spoke of this in a literary context, but of course one couldn’t help but apply this idea to the larger world. The ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes has creative as well as political implications.

In case you don’t remember, Pamuk was officially charged with “insulting Turkishness” back in 2005 when he condemned the genocide against Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I and the killing of Kurds by Turkey in the 1980s. Then last year, he condemned Turkey’s treatment of its writers in a speech at the Frankfurt Book Fair’s opening ceremony, saying:

A century of banning and burning books, of throwing writers into prison or killing them or branding them as traitors and sending them into exile, and continuously denigrating them in the press — none of this has enriched Turkish literature. It has only made it poorer.

Not only is he a brilliant writer, but he’s a brave man who stands up for other writers and speaks out against injustice. Click here if you want to read all about it in the New York Times article from last October.

According to his official web site, Pamuk worked on Innocence for six years. Below is the Turkish cover.



~ by Valerie Palmer on July 2, 2009.

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