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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, from one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish writers.

The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed. The ruling elite therefore mustn’t know the full scope or nature of the project, and panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears. The only clue to the mystery–or crime? –lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex and power.

Translated from the Turkish by Erda M Göknar
Published: Alfred A. Knopf an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Dec 5, 2006
ISBN: 9780307386465
List price: $11.99
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Very well-written and the changing perspectives are interesting (although sometimes a bit confusing and pretentious). The book never grabbed me, even though the primary plot dealt with a murder. Pamuk did convey an effective setting/mood for the novel - Turkey in the Middle Ages. Too many philosophical sections, although those are the sections I remember the most (the sections from the non-human personas (the horse painting and the color red, for example) are especially good. Overall, the book felt tedious at times even though it was tightly written.read more
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Interesting. A look at art as seen through the eyes of a culture many westerners know little about.read more
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Pamuk recently won a Nobel Prize in Literature, and this book is probably his most well-known. He creates through the nominal device of a mystery story some unforgettable characters and scenes, as he presents the collision of Asian philosophy (as represented by Turkish artistic rules) and Western European philosophy (as represented by the Venetian art of perspective and realism) in the 16th century.As fascinating as the history and social strictures are, I found this book at times unbearably slow. Members of my book club disagreed quite a lot about it, which made for a lively discussion. I hesitate to rate it, for it is not average, but I would not recommend it to everyone.read more
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Reviews

Very well-written and the changing perspectives are interesting (although sometimes a bit confusing and pretentious). The book never grabbed me, even though the primary plot dealt with a murder. Pamuk did convey an effective setting/mood for the novel - Turkey in the Middle Ages. Too many philosophical sections, although those are the sections I remember the most (the sections from the non-human personas (the horse painting and the color red, for example) are especially good. Overall, the book felt tedious at times even though it was tightly written.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Interesting. A look at art as seen through the eyes of a culture many westerners know little about.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Pamuk recently won a Nobel Prize in Literature, and this book is probably his most well-known. He creates through the nominal device of a mystery story some unforgettable characters and scenes, as he presents the collision of Asian philosophy (as represented by Turkish artistic rules) and Western European philosophy (as represented by the Venetian art of perspective and realism) in the 16th century.As fascinating as the history and social strictures are, I found this book at times unbearably slow. Members of my book club disagreed quite a lot about it, which made for a lively discussion. I hesitate to rate it, for it is not average, but I would not recommend it to everyone.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I am unsure how to react to this book.I was under the impression that it would be a clever sort of historical-mystery-literature deal. In a way, it was, but about halfway through it transformed into a sort of essay on east-west cultural interaction-- which wouldn't have been so bad in a story with fewer subplots. The characters are frequently pretty fantastic-- the child psychology here is great, as is Master Osman's descent into madness, and Butterfly's manic terror, but I frequently had the feeling that there was simply too much going on. Black's and Shekure's trials bogged down the whole center part of the book. The constant switching of voices made many parts of the story move rather slowly. Add onto this a passel of multi-page monologues on the dangers globalism poses to Islamic cultural trends and you've got a book which, though INTERESTING, is not going to make me want to read it again.I do appreciate that he strung the mystery out for as long as he did, but I feel as though the characters of the three suspect miniaturists were so incompletely sketched that I could not have solved it myself if I had tried. We hear their voices so infrequently, and so much of the story is taken up by things unrelated to them, that I could not get a clear fix on WHO exactly they were each supposed to be until the last seventy pages or so-- definitely a flaw. I feel like Pamuk tried to do far too much with this story.It's a good book, but it's not spectacular. I'm not certain why it won the Nobel.
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My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, which I am currently in the middle of reading, is so far intensely amazing - set in 16th-century Istanbul, a kind of murder mystery that is really about the clash of two different kinds of art and storytelling.
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A little tedious to read at times...but definitely a well written book and it holds your interest.
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