Museum Piece

Patricia Sauthoff
3 min read
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I love a book that can intimidate me. A book that seems to taunt, by showing me how much better a writer the author is and how much of my attention I will have to devote to the words on the page.

From the moment I discovered
Orhan Pamuk, I’ve been hooked. Several years ago I found My Name is Red, a novel that breaks all the conventions I don’t like broken. Pamuk lets multiple voices tell their stories, he lets them speak directly to the reader and he does it all by being intentionally, over-the-top vague.

Lets not forget that he does all this in miniscule font, no less.

Red , on my second attempt, hooked me. I read it, I reread it and I’ve given it to several friends. My poor mother also has to remind me every 6 months or so, that she’s read it.

When Pamuk won the
Nobel Prize and the media claimed it was because of his politics, I scoffed. These were people who, clearly, had not read his work.

Of course, this was only a little hypocritical, as I’d only read one myself. So, last winter, I buckled down and read
Snow. Seriously buckled down. There were days I wouldn’t even leave the house. My friends heard about it constantly. Again, Pamuk had me right where he wanted me. As I finished, and he made reference to The Museum of Innocence, I told myself to wait. That this writer takes such hold, I have to take my time with him. I have to control the situation. I have to choose when to give myself over.

And all that resolve was before I got my hands on a hardback, first edition copy, of
The Museum of Innocence . It came out last October and I resisted. Partly because I already had a copy of Snow waiting. Partly because I didn’t want to drop nearly $30 on a books. And partly because 500+ pages is a lot. (The font is bigger, so it’s probably as long as the rest of his work.)

Now we’re together, the
Museum and I, and the only reason I don’t carry it everywhere I go, is that it weighs a good couple pounds (2.1 according to Amazon) and takes up too much room in my backpack. But every spare moment I get, I read.

All this gushing for a book about which I’ve not even told the plot and not finished? Yes. I hate telling the plot of Pamuk’s book, because they’re not about plot; they’re about amazing writing, emotional connection and another world. His books are nearly always set in Turkey, a land from which Pamuk has been exiled, and his distance proves his love.

It doesn’t matter what
The Museum of Innocence is about. It only matters how it reads: like a lover’s caress.
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