Book - 2004
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From the acclaimed author of My Name Is Red ("a sumptuous thriller"-John Updike; "chockful of sublimity and sin"- New York Times Book Review ), comes a spellbinding tale of disparate yearnings-for love, art, power, and God-set in a remote Turkish town, where stirrings of political Islamism threaten to unravel the secular order.

Following years of lonely political exile in Western Europe, Ka, a middle-aged poet, returns to Istanbul to attend his mother's funeral. Only partly recognizing this place of his cultured, middle-class youth, he is even more disoriented by news of strange events in the wider country: a wave of suicides among girls forbidden to wear their head scarves at school. An apparent thaw of his writer's curiosity-a frozen sea these many years-leads him to Kars, a far-off town near the Russian border and the epicenter of the suicides.

No sooner has he arrived, however, than we discover that Ka's motivations are not purely journalistic; for in Kars, once a province of Ottoman and then Russian glory, now a cultural gray-zone of poverty and paralysis, there is also Ipek, a radiant friend of Ka's youth, lately divorced, whom he has never forgotten. As a snowstorm, the fiercest in memory, descends on the town and seals it off from the modern, westernized world that has always been Ka's frame of reference, he finds himself drawn in unexpected directions: not only headlong toward the unknowable Ipek and the desperate hope for love-or at least a wife-that she embodies, but also into the maelstrom of a military coup staged to restrain the local Islamist radicals, and even toward God, whose existence Ka has never before allowed himself to contemplate. In this surreal confluence of emotion and spectacle, Ka begins to tap his dormant creative powers, producing poem after poem in untimely, irresistible bursts of inspiration. But not until the snows have melted and the political violence has run its bloody course will Ka discover the fate of his bid to seize a last chance for happiness.

Blending profound sympathy and mischievous wit, Snow illuminates the contradictions gripping the individual and collective heart in many parts of the Muslim world. But even more, by its narrative brilliance and comprehension of the needs and duties
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2004
ISBN: 9780375406973
Branch Call Number: PAM
Characteristics: 425 p. ;,25 cm


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Aug 12, 2018

Couldn't finish it, story line was just too slow.

May 08, 2017

An evocative and haunting look at life in a small border city in Turkey, which in the larger picture is attempting to deal with its past and its future. The smaller picture of the novel is how people deal with life in such a setting. Some of the poetic aspect of the novel is surely lost in translation, however the strong themes come through very clearly. Worth reading if you are interested.

Apr 17, 2017

Beautiful book. Sad. Funny. Poetic.
Very touching, moving… Very European...

Dec 26, 2015

While the writing was excellent I could not wade through the lean story amid the politics. Just not my cup of tea,

Mar 02, 2014

I think it's safe to say that Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk is Turkey's greatest living novelist (Go ahead, name another Turkish novelist) and that this is his most famous and well-regarded book. Turkey is a country caught between Europe and the Middle East, between the future and the past, between secularism and Islam and Pamuk eloquently and perceptively captures these tensions in this novel about an exiled poet returning home. The mixture of the political and personal reminded me somewhat of Czech novelists like Kundera and Klima.

Dec 26, 2012

Terrible writing,
No Plot's
Terrible book
Terrible author

Jan 10, 2010

I liked this book as a window onto life in an isolated part of Turkey, and as a story in which Islam is featured. A way to learn about another culture and religion different than my own. Engaging and funny at times, but I found it a bit slow and hard to grasp in places.

AD_Library Aug 08, 2009

One of Turkey’s most notable and admired authors takes us on a journey delving into the blurry push-pull lines between Secular Turkey and the rise of Fundamentalists. Ka, a poet who was exiled to Germany, returns to Istanbul for his mother’s funeral. There he hears of a suicide epidemic in Kars (the east side of Turkey) by young Muslim girls who have been banned from wearing their headscarves at school. Posing as a journalist, Ka travels to Kars to investigate the situation (but also is chasing after his lost love, Ipek, who makes her home there) and finds his atheist mentality confused by Blue, an admired “rebel” who has a romance with Ipek’s sister, Kadife. The work is a translated text, which perhaps impacted my opinion of the writing, which is tender and detailed, but perhaps not to my taste.
Two stars (out of five)


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Jan 10, 2010

“Everything in the world is interconnected and I too am inextricably linked to this deep and beautiful world.” (Chapter 32).

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