Saturday, September 22, 2007

Orhan Pamuk/SNOW


A Turkish poet who has been living in political exile in Frankfurt returns to Turkey to write an article on a tiny town that has been suffering a bout of political/religious suicides. Meanwhile, the poet hopes to woo a beautiful woman he used to know who has recently gotten divorced. While he is in the town, tension between Islamists and secular political forces comes to a head.

I will refrain from going into my strong opinions on author personality and how it affects book appreciation. All that aside, I didn't really love this book the way I was hoping to. It was a little too long (440 pages for a book that takes place in 2 days?) and I was honestly just really frustrated with the futility of the whole plot, all the duplicitous maneuvering, childish love affairs, fickleness, overcommitment, and melodrama--it was like watching De Grassi junior high, only everyone was carrying loaded guns.

The author makes a point on the last page (in the voice of one of his characters) that "Westerners" who read the story have no right to comment on the situations of the characters, so I guess I "shouldn't" write what I just did, but seriously. This is neither a feel-good nor a redemptive book (nor was the writing powerful enough to sustain me).

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