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It's been quite a while since I read this book. but even after almost a decade, this is the only novel which pleasantly stands out in the memory. It's a road which I'll always wish to travel again. a must read for those who love reading. and those who love setting themselves afloat foreign waters only to see where the waves will take them next.  

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Confused by too much elements that writer tried to talk about, I'm afraid I have to say that the whole reading experience could be defined as a torture. Still, I was quite impressed by the great culture Mr. Pamuk described.

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This book seems full of ideas and amazing stories that would bring out multiple emotions in a person

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This is a murder mystery wrapped in the intricacies of miniaturist art in the last decade of the 16th century Ottoman Empire. Each of the 59 chapters speaks in the voice of one of the characters. Black, the returning warrior who has pined his whole life for Shekure, his beautiful cousin, goes to his Effendi Enishte, Shekure's father, to pay his respects and to seek the hand of Shekure. Shekure's husband has died in battle and left her with her two sons. Entwined with this personal story is the murder of an artist of Enishte's workshop. Soon, Enishte is also murdered. For Black to win Shekure's hand, he must find and bring to justice the murderer.
Parmuk uses this personal story to examine the nature and quality of Muslim art during the Ottoman Empire. With exquisite detail about color, texture, and the striving to portray the world in Allah's vision, the miniaturists' lives and sacrifices are revealed in detail: how eyes grow dim over the decades and blindness becomes a blessing and mark of distinction in old age; how artists struggle to remove their individual style so as not to corrupt Allah's vision; how the members of a workshop spend their entire lives with one another. The artists in this story, named by their master, are Butterfly, Stork, and Olive. It is Elegant who is first murdered, then the master himself, Effendi Enishte. The murders are to cover up the secret work of this group to produce new art in the Frankish style, not the Muslim style. Western art reproduces what we humans see in the world. A woman or a tree or a building may be the very focus of the art. Muslim art of that era marginalizes all things that are not pervceived to extol Allah. To make a woman the center or focus of art is idolatrous. This is the crux of the conflict that results in the murders.
It took me forever to read this book! Parmuk's style moved between plot-driven revelations about the murder mystery and absorbing, but ultimately lengthy and tedious, explications of artistic intricacy. Vastly more absorbing is his "Istanbul," a personal portrait woven into that bi-continental city's history. Nevertheless, Orhan Parmuk is a master of the written word.
NOTE: Chapter 47, "I Satan," contains the most perceptive explanation for evil within a religious context that I’ve encountered. Worth reading for this surprising chapter alone.
 

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Superlative narration and conception of narrative style. Well thought out plot and interesting characters. Velijan's (Olive's) intriguing guise has been textured with the travails of human psyche. A master piece indeed.

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Orhan Pamuk of Turkey has been nominated for the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1992 and 2006. I would like to read this book to know about the lives of the miniaturists who were considered the most likely to burn in hell by Islamic fundamentalists.

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All reviews - 85
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All reviews - 85
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All reviews - 85