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Merging the life of a writer with the city of his childhood is a truly natural and exciting proposition. This becomes all the more true for an author who has come to symbolize the liberal face of Turkey. Istanbul: Memories And The City by Orhan Pamuk is a shimmering evocation of a city that is both intimate and panoramic. Written with a sense of melancholy, the author describes his life and how the change in the city has affected and shaped the manner in which he perceives the city. A personal memoir, the book also talks about prominent authors and writers who are in some way linked to the city.
Istanbul: Memories And The City is a book that revolves around a serious toddler who lives his life among the complicated lives of his family members. The entire household is ruled by the author’s grandmother, who though old and bedridden, controls the entire family but continuously mourns the fact that her sons are wasting the wealth and fortune of the family. Besides this, the author’s childhood is dominated by his uncle and aunts’ fights, and his parents’ collapsing marriage.
Split between his inner and outer reality, the author creates an alter ego and draws the readers into his dark house crammed with formal yet comfortable furniture, unused pianos, showcases with photographs and jewelry. The unloved and decayed city of Istanbul during the sixties and eighties is aptly described in the book. Applying his prose and skill through the book, the author weaves an intricate story about a city with all its customs and traditions and also provides some self-reflection. All in all, Istanbul: Memories And The City is a stunning novel that begins as the autobiography of the author and eventually becomes the story of an amazing and beautiful city.
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