Translated from the original Turkish by Ekin Oklap
At a family wedding Mevlut catches sight of a girl with whom he falls in love. After a secret courtship of letters passed via his cousin, she agrees to elope with him, and on a dark night the two come together for the first time. As they rush to catch a train to Istanbul, Mevlut realises he has been misled. But the die is cast, and the situation will determine the rest of his days. Over the next four decades in Istanbul, Mevlut works various jobs to support his loving wife and family; work that gives him a special perspective on his rapidly changing city and the people who live there. And every evening he walks the streets, selling his wares and dreaming his dreams.
About the Author
Orhan Pamuk, is the author of many celebrated books, including The White Castle, Istanbul and Snow. In 2003 he won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for My Name is Red, and in 2006 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His novel, The Museum of Innocence, was an international bestseller, praised in the Guardian as ‘an enthralling, immensely enjoyable piece of storytelling.’ Orhan Pamuk lives in Istanbul.
To say that A Strangeness in My Mind is a guide for anyone trying to make sense of the complexities of Turkish society is not to suggest that it is history or documentary. A novelist, at least one as accomplished as Pamuk, can place the reader in the midst of such a society, to stand beside the characters and see things as they see them. Pamuk’s latest novel is, at heart, the love story of Mevlut and Samiha – escaping the poverty of an Anatolian village to make a life in Istanbul – set against inequality, injustice, and the cultural and political clashes of Turk and Kurd, where tradition is both a barrier and a support.
A subtle re-creation of tragicomedy of human life and inner strains of a common and yet integral human being under the pressure of running time as it causes changes in the aspects of the old Insanbul irrevocably retreating into the past. The translator has successfully rendered the author’s representation of Istanbul as an important dramatic persona of the novel.