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 in 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 idiosyncrasies, 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul in 1952 into a family of engineers. He was educated in Istanbul at an American school. He dropped out of his architecture course to become a full-time writer and obtained a degree in journalism from Istanbul University. Since 1982, when his first novel was published to great acclaim, Pamuk has been one of Turkey's most successful authors. After three years in the USA, he returned to Istanbul. In 1995 Pamuk was among a group of authors tried for criticising the Turkish regime's treatment of the Kurds in a book of essays exercising the freedom of speech. He is the author of seven novels. The White Castle won the 1990 Independent Award for Foreign Fiction, and the publication ofThe New Life caused a sensation in his native land, becoming the fastest-selling book in Turkish history. In 2003 Pamuk was awarded the IMPAC Award for My Name is Red and in 2005, the Prix Medicis Etranger for Snow.