Istanbul By Orhan Pamuk

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A transcendant study of a city, and a dreamy childhood, from a giant of world writing. Sumptuously orchestrated (and superbly translated by Maureen Freely), Pamuk's elegant fusion of memoir, history and cultural critique shows how the former Ottoman metropolis of mists, secrets and regrets marked the mind of the future writer as he roamed its twisty lanes and foggy shores. Snapshots (both visual and verbal), family memories and historical vignettes enrich the texture and set the senses dancing.

Above all, Pamuk sees the melancholy longing of hüzün as the hidden key to Istanbul. For a complete definition of this nebulous nostalgia, you'll just have to read his hazily enchanting testament.