December 23, 2012

Istanbul : Memories and the City

Pamuk himself has lived in the city all his life, and it has been the inspiration for much of his output as a novelist. While some writers feed on exile, travel, and rootlessness, Pamuk describes his imagination as requiring that he stay “in the same city, on the same street, in the same house, gazing at the same view.

Istanbul’s fate is my fate: I am attached to this city because it has made me who I am.” The book extends this personal symbiosis with place to his upper-middle class republican family whose story, in many ways, mirrors that of their city.

Ever since Pamuk’s grandfather made his fortune engineering the new rail lines in the early years of the Turkish Republic, the family has been in slow, apparently inexorable decline. “It was a long time coming, arriving by circuitous route, but the cloud of gloom and loss that the fall of the Ottoman Empire had spread over Istanbul finally claimed my family, too,” he writes.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul : Memories and the City

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