The Turkish Knight

Orhan Pamuk
Orhan Pamuk

Just a couple hours ago, my friend Dila asked me about any good books that I might introduced to her.  I always think that Pramoedya Ananta Toer is one of the best writer in the world, and she might be interested on his work.  Pramoedya is very good, and he should receive his long lost Nobel – which sadly – he never get.

But then I realized that I have another favorite writer, the one who introduce me to the kingdom far far away (well, it’s not kingdom anymore, actually). The kingdom whose conquered half of the modern Europe, the one who changed its church into mosque, the one who stands between two continents, the descendant of Greeks and Mongols: Turkey.

His name is Orhan Pamuk (57). I knew his work when I bought his book, My Name Is Red, or with the Indonesian translation: Namaku Merah Kirmizi. I won’t say anything about the story here, for it’s better for you to experience it by yourself. Pamuk’s work are struggling in the realm of ancient yet modern problem of Turkeys, i.e their identity.  It is interesting how Pamuk always state implicitly, about how the country face the modern world with its problems. How they look at themselves as a Muslim yet Europe.

Like Pramoedya, Pamuk always tell the truth. He was banned by Turkey Government in 2006 because he speaks about the Armenian Genocide, a tragedy that actually happened but always kept shut by the Turkey government. Every Turks might find that his books are disturbing to read. Not disturbing as disgusting or gory, but more like controversial. It makes you think. And that is a skill every good writer should have.

I myself never went to Turkey, yet it still fascinates me. It’s always in my head. The castle, the mosque, the people, all of them are forming an image that I always dreamed of. It’s funny how you always want to be a part of something that doesn’t related to you.

About the book, I still don’t know if I would recommended Orhan Pamuk to my friend, Dila. I’m not sure if she would like it or not. But it’s worth to read, actually. Maybe I would tell her later, after she come home to Jakarta for good. Meanwhile, if you have a time please read My Name Is Red, and feel free to add any comment or discussion on my blog. Do you have any suggestion? What book should I give to Dila?

My Name Is Red
My Name Is Red

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