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Istanbul
Orhan Buy the Book


Istanbul
Memories and the City
by Orhan Pamuk

Istanbul is haunted by another Istanbul, a shadowy presence in the shadows. Orhan Pamuk sees the city in black and white, mirrored in the ancient engravings and old photographs that illustrate the book -- a city in which ruined buildings conjure up the ghosts of their former selves and stately monuments insinuate their future collapse. Through the descriptions of other writers -- several Turkish masters, various traveling foreigners -- Pamuk parades yet more double-images of the Istanbul he knows. As seen by the poet Yahya Kemal or the historian and encyclopedist Resat Ekrem Kocu, by Gerard de Nerval or Gustave Flaubert, Pamuk's Istanbul keeps unfolding like a series of Rorschach tests, multiplying its ink-stained ghosts and tempting the reader with potentially infinite interpretations.

Istanbul, is a poetical work that is hard to classify, combining the author's early memoirs up to the age of 22, and an essay about the city of Istanbul, illustrated with photographs from his own album, and pictures by western painters and Turkish photographers. Apart from three years in New York, Orhan Pamuk has spent all his life in the same streets and district of Istanbul, and he now lives in the building where he was raised. Pamuk has been writing novels for 30 years and never done any other job except writing. His books have been translated into more than 40 languages.

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