Thursday, July 6, 2006

The Black Book

Posted on Thu, Jul 6, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Black Book
Publishing House: Vintage
WorkNameSort: Black Book, The
This fresh translation of Pamuk's richly crafted masterpiece is being released simultaneously with the Turkish author's latest novel, Istanbul. And, though it's conventional wisdom that Istanbul will be the book that pushes this highly regarded writer onto the pedestal of international acclaim he deserves, the breathtaking quality of The Black Book should not be overlooked. Pamuk is best known for one controversy ' his continuing campaign for recognition of the Armenian genocide has made him a pariah to many in Turkey ' but it's worth noting that The Black Book was his original conversation-starter. Not because any of the content in the book is incendiary, but simply because Pamuk's elegant and complex construction of this mystery was completely revolutionary. Weaving existential themes into a missing-wife story may seem overly ambitious, but the introspective creepiness of protagonist Galip Cey (the husband) makes many things seem possible. Add to that the deeply descriptive way Pamuk lays out Istanbul, and The Black Book is still revealing its excellence, even 16 years after it was first published.

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