Thursday, October 12, 2006

Turkish Delight

Yes! Pamuk won!!

Okay, so Pamuk wouldn't have been my first pick for the Prize, but he would definitely have been in the top 3. I confess to not having read as much of Pamuk as I would like (having only read My Name is Red (my review here), Snow and The Black Book [1]) but I've always found him to be an exquisite writer, one who combines patient and baroque craftsmanship with a great deal of dramatic gusto. The Nobel Prize citation speaks of Pamuk's "quest for the melancholic soul of his native city" and it is certainly true that nostalgia and memory are major themes for Pamuk, but what amazes me is the sense of immediacy he brings to these themes, the way his books sing with momentum, the way his novels have a thrilling unputdownable quality.

At least some prize committees still know what they're doing.

[1] Though looking at Pamuk's Bibliography, I realise that that represents a significant proportion of his works in translation. Hopefully the Prize will ensure that we get to see more of his works in English.


Veena said...

Read only two of Pamuk, but see your point. Though always thought that he was sort of too young to win the Nobel so soon(just realised that he is 54)!

Of course, am crazy mad that they ignored Roth once more but guess nothing can be done there.

Falstaff said...

Veena: Ya, I know. I think it's because only 6 of his books have been translated into English that one thinks of him as much younger. Plus let's face it, a large part of this is political.

Know exactly how you feel about Roth, of course. I can't help wondering though if the overwhelming support for Roth winning a Nobel isn't what's keeping him from winning - the kind of dynamic where picking the most obvious answer is a no-no because how would the committee feel that they had actually done something.

Anirudh said...

I also thought they might pick Roth. Oh well! I have a lot of him left to read so I can't pretend that I am angry.

(Like Veena, I had the impression Pamuk was young. He looks young. Or have they just been putting an older and better-looking photo of him in the papers?

n said...

Im as thrilled about Pamuk, and as unenthusiastic about kiran desai :)

Szerelem said...

Ahaha...I have a similar post here

I agree with what you say about the Prize being political. There was such hooha in Turkey that his statement on the Armenian genocide were to make him an appealing choice for the Nobel. Do hope Roth wins though. But as of now am quite thrilled about Pamuk.

Btw, I had asked you what you thought of Black Book (on one of Aishwaryas posts)?

The Black Mamba said...

of course, this is a bad year for Roth, anyway - given americans have won phy, chem, bio, econ... there is no way they were giving them literature too..

Anonymous said...

ooh another toyboy to add to my collection falsie. lots of gray hair, sexy-librarian specs, what's not to like? oh and "my name is red" wasn't half-bad either.


Aishwarya said...


Sure, I'm sorry Roth didn't get it, but. Joy!

Nandu said...

I've been to your blog only a couple of times, think you write really well! In re Pamuk, think you should definitely read 'Istanbul'. I read 'My name is Red', as well and thought that Istanbul was a better read.

Falstaff said...

anirudh: Ah, but that's because you and Veena are optimists. See, pessimistic old me has long ago decided that Roth will eventually join that long, long list of great writers who never won the Prize.

n: Yes. Let's put the whole Booker fiasco behind us, shall we?

szerelem: The Nobels are always political. But that's fine as long as the people they're rewarding are genuinely talented.

About Black Book - I enjoyed it immensely - it brought back strong memories of reading Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. (Llosa, btw, is another writer who I think deserves the Prize at some point).

BM: True.

n!: Toyboy? Toyboy? The man is 54, you know. Isn't there a statute of limitations on this stuff?

aishwarya: :-). Yes, exactly.

nandu: Thanks. And yes, will read Istanbul. Actually, even as we speak, it's winging its way to me through the University Library system.

Aishwarya said...

*grin* The first time I met Jabberwock was to borrow Istanbul from him.. I'd just returned from a trip there. The book really is lovely. As is the city.

Anirudh said...

Actually, I don't care much about this prize, or any prize for that matter.