Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006
Translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely
We don’t get much snow in England, so the moment I saw the first few flakes falling I decided it was time to dig this book out of my TBR pile. I am really pleased that I did as this is the perfect read for a cold Winter’s day. The icy atmosphere is prevalent throughout and having a layer of snow outside my window increased my enjoyment of this book.
If he hadn’t been so tired, if he’d paid more attention to the snowflakes swirling out of the sky like feathers, he might have realised that he was travelling straight into a blizzard; he might have seen from the start that he’d set out on a journey that would change his life for ever; he might have turned back.
Snow begins with a poet returning to Turkey after living in exile for twelve years in Germany. He travels to the remote town of Kars, where he poses as a journalist supposedly investigating the large number of suicides that have occurred there recently.
I loved the first third of the book – the character development, plot foreshadowing and snowy atmosphere created the perfect opening. Unfortunately the book went downhill for me in the middle, as it started to focus on politics and religious debate – subjects which I don’t enjoy reading about.
This is a very well written book, with a complex, multi-layered narrative. It used some interesting plot devices, including the introduction of the author, Orhan Pamuk, as a character. I’m sure this is a book which others would enjoy reading again and again.
I noticed many similarities with 2666, so I’m sure that if you enjoyed one book then you’d like the other. I’d love to know if Bolaño had read this before writing 2666, as certain aspects, especially the large number of deaths in a remote town, were very similar.
Overall, I’m really pleased that I read this book and even though my eyes started to glaze over when I read some of political discussion there was more than enough to keep me interested.
I recommend this book to all lovers of literary fiction, particularly those who enjoy political discussion.
Have you read anything written by Orhan Pamuk?