My name is Red

My name is RedThe book is written by 2006 years literature Nobel price winner Orhan Pamuk. I got it last Christmas from my boyfriend, admittedly not a book I would have chosen to buy.

Its a murder story, spiced with a love story, twisted with a very different storyteller, or rather storytellers. Place is Istanbul, year is 1591.

It does show a bit of history, specifically how the art of illuminating and decorating books developed. It has a religious viewpoint as well. During the time of the book, a true Muslim would never paint a portrait, nor would they use perspective in paintings. All images was to show how the world looked from gods view.
However new influences is starting to come. And this is what the story really is about, developing towards new techniques, and how some don’t want that to happen, they want it to stay the same way it has always been. One person is even willing to kill for his beliefs.
The main characters of the book are miniature painters, working with illuminating and decorating books. The intrigues started with the sultan ordering a book, a book that would embrace the new influences of painting. He even wants his portrait put in the book…

Side by side with the murder story we got the love story. A young man, Kara, returns from many years of journey, finds out that is one and only true love has two sons and a husband missing in action from wars in Persia. This woman, that was hardly more then a girl when he left was actually a big part of why he went out on journey in the first place. Kara still loves her.

The story unfolds slowly. Each chapter has its own storyteller. The first one actually starts out with the corpse as teller. But that is by far not the strangest storyteller in this book. Even the murderer tells his story, from his view, of course without letting us know his true name. Among the stranger storytellers we got the color red, carmosine red to be precise, a coin and a tree.
At first the constant changes of storyteller is rather confusing, even though each chapter clearly tells who it is through the headline. After a while you get used to it, but if you don’t read the headline to see who is talking you would soon get lost.

You do not want to be half asleep when reading this one, and its definatly not an easy book to read, but if you feel you want a challenge or just something different to read you should give it a shot. It’s an interesting book that is written in a very special way, at least I never came across anything like it.

Last edited October 29th, 2008 by Anna

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