I'd read good reviews of this critically-acclaimed book, so I decided to pick it up.
It's sort-of a murder mystery set in 16th-century Turkey, by a Turkish author.
I say sort-of, because although the plot definitely features a murdered artist, and his group of colleagues, one of whom killed him - which one, we do not find out till the very end - the book as a whole is more concerned with the differences between Western and Eastern traditional art, which in turn reflects on the differences between cultures - and with the culture of Turkish Islam, in general. And - I found it to be a bit surprising - I also found it to be subtly but viciously critical of that culture.
This was an extremely well-crafted book, and very worth reading - but, I have to admit, it was a bit slow going!
I wanted to read this book mainly because the author won the Nobel Prize. During the first 50 pages or so, I thought I was in for a real treat. The chapters are each told from the point of view of an alternating character and are sometimes very inventive (like the point of view of a painting of a dog, or a gold coin). Somewhere in the middle, the book becomes bogged down with the love story between Black and Shekure. There are also extensive descriptions of paintings which are Dickensian in length. This book became a chore to read near the end and I found myself not even really caring who the murderer was anymore. If you majored in Arabian art and literature or love Dickens, then this book is for you. If not, I wouldn't bother.
I couldn't finish this book. It is umbelievable tedious and takes a ridiculous amount of time to get to the story. The style of writing leaves the reader confused and frustrated. Perhaps it ends up being a Pulizter Prize winner but it most certainly does not start that way.
Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red immerses the reader into the art world of sixteenth-century Istanbul. A member of the Ottoman Sultan's workshop of artists responsible for illuminating great books has been murdered; there are rumors the mysterious death is related to a secret book being prepared for the Sultan in the European style. Accompanying this central mystery is a long meditation about the philosophy of art, since European-style figurative art might be heretical in Islam, and a love story involving the book producer's daughter. The juxtaposition of serious religious and philosophical discourse and a low-tech detective story reminds me of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose; both fully transport the reader to the historical period. Sixteenth-century Istanbul stars as a melting pot of many Eastern cultures and ideas. Using a round-robin set of first-person narrators, it's important to pay attention to the chapter titles to orient oneself. Although I had high hopes for its intriguing premise and enjoyed much of this in-depth story, I found the mystery to drag on a bit towards the end and it became a chore to finish.
I totally enjoyed My Name is Red written by Orhan Pamuk a Nobel Prize winning author. It is about a certain school of Turkish artists who follow the tradition of early Persian painters. It is a murder mystery and each character including the murderer, tells the story from his own point of view.Through reading it you learn about the philosophy and tradition of Turkish painters of the 16th century. I highly recommend this book especially to those who enjoy world literature or art.
This is an awesome book! You will enjoy learning about Turkey! What a wonderful book. I want to read other books by this author!
At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, My Name is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul.