The Story inside this STORY
The celebrated novelist Orhan Pamuk explores his idea of Istanbul, mingling personal memoir with cultural history to evoke his home of fifty years. After the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the world almost forgot that Istanbul existed. The city into which I was born was poorer, shabbier, and more isolated than it had ever been its two-thousand-year history. For me it has always been a city of ruins and of end-of-empire melancholy. I've spent my life either battling with this melancholy, or (like all Istanbullus) making it my own . . . For Orhan the day-dreaming child, the heart of the great teeming city of Istanbul was the building known as 'Pamuk Apartments', where each branch of his large and extended family occupied its own separate floor. Now the writer Orhan Pamuk, with his unique sense of history and extraordinary gift for narrative, revisits his own family's secrets and idiosyncracies, discovering what made them typical of their time and place. And as he companionably guides us through Istanbul's monuments and lost paradises, its dilapidated Ottoman villas, back streets and waterways, he also introduces us to the city's writers, artists and murderers. In a beautiful and quite riveting fashion, Pamuk transforms the form of autobiography, and what begins as a portrait of the artist as a young man becomes a portrait of an extraordinary city.