Saturday, September 29, 2012

The New Life by Orhan Pamuk DNF

A book about the transformative power of books sounds heavenly, right? But holy cow, this author waxes obsessive over this one unnamed book that has a surreal and trippy hold over his characters. Once 'the book' has been read, our protagonist, Osman, goes on and on and ON about how life-changing this book is. To the point of leaving his life as a university student in Istanbul and joining his new girlfriend Janan (also obsessed with 'the book') on a quest to find this New Life as promised by 'the book.' They spend months traveling by bus sometimes having the misfortune of being involved in explosive bus accidents (remind never to travel by bus in Turkey). They steal money and identities from the dead passengers and then carry on their journey looking for this 'new life' that they know is out there waiting for them. There's also something about Janan's former boyfriend Mehmet (also a reader of 'the book') whom they're trying to track down. He survived being shot and is in hiding. How does it all end? It's twisty, weird, strangely engaging and . . . I didn't finish it. It's not that it isn't good, per se, it's just that for me, right now, it's a little too heavy on the magic realism. I'll hang on to it for another time.

I read a book one day and my whole life was changed. Even on the first page I was so affected by the book's intensity I felt my body sever itself and pull away from the chair where I sat reading the book that lay before me on the table. But even though I felt my body dissociating, my entire being remained so concertedly at the table that the book its influence not only on my soul but on every aspect of my identity. (opening paragraph)

It was just a pocket watch, but one sensitive to bliss; it stopped when you were happy so that your blissful hour could persist for all eternity; and conversely, when you were in despair , the small and big hand speeded up tremendously, making you remark how quickly time had passed and how your sorrows had ended in the blink of an eye. pg92

The mother of the three rosy daughters was a small woman who practiced emotional extortion; not only her eyes but her whole demeanor said: Watch it, should you displease me, I shall burst into tears. pg111

I kept thinking of Janan. I was tuned to her like a television set constantly on the same channel, but now I was thinking of her sitting in a different kind of chair, perhaps because I was seeing myself in a different light. pg125

Thin, fragile lightening bolts were flashing back and forth in the clouds when Doctor Fine repeated once more that what had turned his son against him had been a book. His son had read a book one day and thought his whole world had changed. pg129

The culprit is not only that particular book, the book that snared my son, but all the books that have been printed by printing presses; they are all enemies of the annals of our time, our former existence. pg131

1 comment:

laughingwolf said...

not my cuppa from the looks of it...