Mar 5, 2010

Nobel Prize Winning Authors: Pamuk and Kawabata

Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence was a new find. This is Pamuk's first novel after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.

The translation from the Turkish by Maureen Freely is easy to read, flows smoothly, and I became engrossed in the first half of the book by a love story that became a story of obsession. I'm now bogged down, however, on page 340 of 532 pages.

Afer loving and leaving a distant poor relative, the beautiful Fusun,  and becoming engaged to a high society Turkish woman, the main character Kemal feels shame and guilt. But he also cannot control his need for Fusun and pursues her, scouring the streets of Istanbul to find her after she disappears.

I'm at this point hoping the novel will pick up after these few pages that has me tired of Kemal's obsession.  I want the novel to move along faster, but I think that Pamuk has a hidden agenda in this book - comments on Turkish society, the conflict between East and West, the old and the new.

In the meantime, I've picked up the book of another Nobel prize winner, The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata. Published in 1962, the novel was listed as one of three cited by the committee which awarded Kawabata the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968.

The novel is about Chieko, a young woman living in Kyoto, the old capital of Japan, who discovers at age 20 that she is adopted and was a foundling abandoned by her biological parents.

It's a slim book, only 162 pages long! I hope to finish both books though, and write longer reviews!

16 comments:

Tea said...

I enjoyed your review. I didn't realize the size of Pamuk's book.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

The Museum of Innocence really sounds great. I've been wanting to read it, but some other book always gets in the way it seems :)

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

First, I am very excited that I won the corked book! Thanks for the give-away! I've had my eye on that one.

Second, thanks for this post. I am trying to work my way through the list of Nobel Laureates and I haven't read books by either of these authors. I am going add these two books to my wish list.

NancyO said...

I have that book by Pamuk on my shelf tbr, along with a couple of others of his which sadly, I haven't yet read.

However, Kawabata is one of my all-time favorite authors -- his work is wonderful. I do hope you enjoy him.

Hannah Stoneham said...

I haven't yet got around to the Museum of Innocence but I ery much intend to - as I loved "My Name Is Red" - thanks for your enlightening review.

Hannah

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like you've got 2 good books on the go :)

septembermom said...

Both look interesting. I think I'll pick up the Kawabata one first. Looking forward to your reviews.

Mark David said...

Sorry to hear you got bogged down somewhere in Pamuk's novel. I'm also interested in reading that one. I've sampled the first few pages, and I was a bit shocked at the opening scene. It's quite explicit, I must say, but Pamuk certainly knows how to make an explicit scene sound like poetry :)

Mark David said...

Oh, and I hope you enjoy The Old Capital, by the way. It's a favorite of mine :)

Harvee said...

Mark David: Yes, your recommendation of this book prompted me to borrow it from the library! I've started it and am enjoying it. My book is a translation by J. Martin Holman.

Harvee said...

Hannah: will definitely pick up My Name is Red, on your recommendation!

Harvee said...

Diane, Rose City Reader, September Mom - I hope you enjoy the books once you start. Llet us know!

Harvee said...

Tea: Memi: Yes, a long book and a short one. Perfect together!

A.F. Heart said...

Hello there,

I just gave you an award at:
http://mysterysuspence.blogspot.com/2010/03/special-announcement-awards.html

Thank you,
A.F. Heart

Anonymous said...

I loved Pamuk's Snow, and this has caught my eye from a few months ago. I think I first saw it on Bookmarks magazine...anyway, I'm glad you liked it. I'm meaning to read The Old Capital, too, after all the great reviews I read from the JLC3.

Mark David said...

@Harvee: That's the translator in my edition as well! I hope you got the second edition, though, since in my copy it says that he already translated it before and the edition I have is second edition from the same translator.

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