Author: Orhan Pamuk
Price: $ 19
Genre: Fiction/ Turkish literature
A Strangeness In My Mind is a novel Orhan Pamuk has worked on for six years. It is the story of boza seller Mevlut, the woman to whom he wrote three years' worth of love letters, and their life in Istanbul.
In the four decades between 1969 and 2012, Mevlut works a number of different jobs on the streets of Istanbul, from selling yoghurt and cooked rice, to guarding a car park. He observes many different kinds of people thronging the streets, he watches most of the city get demolished and re-built, and he sees migrants from Anatolia making a fortune; at the same time, he witnesses all of the transformative moments, political clashes, and military coups that shape the country. He always wonders what it is that separates him from everyone else - the source of that strangeness in his mind. But he never stops selling boza during winter evenings and trying to understand who his beloved really is.
I read great deal about this novel as Pamuk took six years to complete it..This book has become one of my favorites of Pamuks work. .
The protagonist is Mevlut Karatas who as a kid moves from his village to the city with his father in the 60s with dreams and longs for a better life for love , respect and abundance but with successive failure in schooling, business and politics , he ends up as a poor boza vendor, there are plenty of other small jobs he holds like selling yogurt, ice cream, chicken on street, being a waiter at a cafe plus working at a electric shop, but its his bozo job at night that impressed me the most as it is when the streets come alive..Later on he falls in love with a woman with beautiful eyes and there are exchange of love letters over three years only to elope with her older sister with few mixups..still he accepts his fate as a gift and they live happy though they remain poor..Yet through all the ordeals of his life he remains innocent to his state of mind and I loved the character even more.
One of the best parts of the novel is Pamuk's love for Istanbul that you see through all characters of the novel mostly Mevut's extended family..Just like in his other books, image of Istanbul's image comes alive through his words like a poem.The description is rich that makes you smell the heavenly Bozo and wow it taste so perfect.As we learn about bozo's popularity from the days Ottoman empire and its losing demand and being replaced by a more modern drink raki, Pamuk underlines how the old life was slowly disappearing to the modern day and still when the very few do get a bozo from Mevlut just for sake of old days, Pamuk holds us all tight with the grip of nostalgia.
The different of point of views of all the characters gives us a comprehensive take on socio-economic and legislation of Turkey moving the story ahead too.The vibrant city of Istanbul surrounds the reader in all its plenty. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said that you could see the streets through the novel so precise are the details.His love for his doesn't blind him though. He points out the inequality of women in the society, their lack of education that does bad for the society than good..
The book also takes an interesting cut on the changes of yesterdays tradition that confronts the present and a hope for the future. Pamuk is a master of loss and memories and if you have read his other works you would know what I mean.This is a very long read but for a lover of classics I even felt that I could go on even more that's the extend of my love for this book , definetely one of my favourites of all time.