Review: My Name is Red

My Name Is Red- Orhan Pamuk
My Name Is Red- Orhan Pamuk

The title is bound to intrigue and lead many to pick up the book. The fact that it is a bestseller, an internationally acclaimed work with many awards to its name, and is written by Nobel Laureate author Orhan Pamuk definitely heightens the interest.  And it doesn’t disappoint.

The novel revolves around the murder of a miniature artist from the Ottoman Empire and is narrated through different characters throughout the book. The book is a maze, that gets deeper and complex with each chapter, with the maze being so intricate and beautifully composed that it overwhelms. Towards the end, the book becomes a question and answer within itself- What is art– the artist’s rendering of his views or that which is perfect and as God made it be? What is the artist allowed to draw and depict? To whom does the artist’s soul swear allegiance – to God or his art?

Pamuk wonders aloud about these questions through his many narrators, while unraveling the mystery of the murdered miniaturist. The thematic and narrative styles, along with the lyrical fluidity of prose make this a very engrossing read. One might have liked it more had they read it in the original Turkish version, but Erdağ Göknar‘s translation does bring out the beauty of the prose and plot.

But, the book brings with itself a task, a task those well-read can hope to live up to. The constantly changing narrators and their many voices may begin to crowd. The complex overlapping and recurring references to books, stories within stories, art styles can begin to befuddle.

If you do pick up the book, read it with a deeper mind and keener eye than you would spare a Grisham or Archer thriller.

Read the complete review here.

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