Analysis Of Istanbul: Memories And The City By David Pamuk

1301 Words 6 Pages
Istanbul: Memories and the City (2006) is a tale of an artist’s struggle not only against the conventional codes of the society but also against his own dilemmas and doubts. Eminent English novelist David Mitchell (b.1969) calls the book “an additive childhood memoir, a museum-in-prose of a city with West in its head but East in its soul, and a study of the alchemy between place and self”. Pamuk wrote this memoir at the age of fifty two, compiling all those spots of time, memories, and feelings which he believes shaped his persona. Pamuk, as he is known for being an experimental, innovative and versatile writer instead of writing a linear, coherent life story, reinvents himself as Orhan, his alter ego and the narrator of this memoir. This …show more content…
In this book he presents his personal and national history as inseparable and sees his city as the most important part of his self. And what creates this inseparable bond is the melancholy which he uses to represent the collective disillusionment of his nation. The memoir begins with the chapter “Another Orhan” in which Pamuk writes about his childhood belief that somewhere in Istanbul resides his twin. He writes that as a child and, even, during his adolescence he could never do away with the thought of this another Orhan and would imagines that his twin, unlike him, is a cheerful person living a happy life in the same city. And as he grew up he began to feel that his city also has a twin, that there exists another Istanbul within Istanbul which is very different from the post card image of the city. Thus, the book could be read as a tale of two cities, of two world, two positions and also two …show more content…
His grew up in a five storey house full of imported furniture, unplayed pianos, Chinese porcelains, crystal glasses and family photographs among “positivist men who loved mathematics” but loathed religion and discarded Turkish culture. The family’s sitting-room with its snuff boxes and glass cupboards, according to him, was the best example of western influence found in every rich household in Turkey. As a child he felt that these rooms were designed “not for the living but for the dead” (Pamuk, 10). Most of his relatives supported the father founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk’s westernization project but no one was certain of its benefits. He writes that like his family, most of the other people were not actually interested in the East or the West, they supported the modernization or westernization process because they viewed it as freedom from the religious laws. No one except the servants prayed in the house, in fact how a person sat in the silver threaded chair was a considered a much more serious topic of discussion than fasting during the month of Ramzan. In such an environment, any encounter with religion or the traditional Islamic literature was out of question but he had access to large collection of books written by Sigmund Freud, Jean Paul Sartre, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner and others which he read

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