My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk


I’m so fortunate to be red! I’m fiery. I’m strong. I know men take notice of me and that I cannot be resisted.

Four masters of Persian miniatures are asked to illustrate a secret book for the Sultan, so that his name and his deeds will gain immortality and fame through the ages. However, there's been rumors that the book is contrary to the laws of the Muslim world, that it is made according to the principles of Venice ungodly. After the brutal murder of one of the artists, it becomes clear that to continue working on order of the Sultan – is extremely dangerous.

In the Islamic tradition the figures in the painting are anonymous. The fact some painters signed their work, and that people are kind of coming out, coming forward, coming expressively to the fore into your face from those canvases. That’s not the way those Islamic miniatures work. The Western artists and Western civilization is actually drawing abreast of Islamic civilization. The Turkish artists, as representatives of their whole civilization their whole tradition, their whole culture, are beginning to feel very real fear, disquiet.  

They were distinctive, unique human faces he said. He was intoxicated by their variety, the colors, the pleasantness, even severity of the soft light that seemed to fall on them, and the meaning emanating from their eyes, as if a virulent plague had struck. Everyone was having his portrait made.

 “My name is Red” is a novel, written by Orhan Pamuk. Orhan Pamuk is a Turkish novelist, who won the Nobel prize for this novel. However, Orhan hasn’t always dreamed to be a novelist: during his childhood he wanted to become an artist, but when he failed in it, he realized that he can actually write about paintings.

“My name is Red” is a murder mystery set in 16th century in Istanbul. It touches upon various kinds of problems: a tension between Eastern values and Western values, a war among painters, a wonderful and a heart-breaking love story and if the power of art can revolve somebody to murder.

There are several main characters in the book. It’s an old master Enishte, his beautiful daughter Shekure, who has lost her husband and now she is left with her sons, Kara – a nephew of Enishte, who recently returned from 12 years away in Persia and who is falling in love with Shekure. There are also three suspect miniaturists: Butterfly, Stock and Olive.

"My Name Is Red" is different from any other books: an extraordinary structure, a magical style of storytelling and an Oriental painting. This is the book you want to savor. Ones of the most interesting chapters are those which are told by inanimate objects: by a coin, by a tree, by red color...

The novel is saturated with the Turkish culture, which oozes through all the edges, so first and foremost this book is for anyone who loves the East and is interested in it. It’s incredibly delicate, sweet, velvety.

1. A Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi by Agnolo Bronzino
2.  The miniature depicting of Rustem's birth by Nursel Uvendire (Original source: Shahnama-i Firdawsī, Turk-Islam Exhibits Museum, Istanbul, MS 1955). Image taken from: http://www.muslimheritage.com/article/caesarean-section-early-islamic-literature

You Might Also Like

0 коммент.


Get an email of every new post! We'll never share your address.