Faber & Faber £9.99 (483pp) (free p&p) from 0870 079 8897
Other Colours, By Orhan Pamuk
Friday 24 October 2008
For any new reader who feels slightly wary of Turkey's Nobel prize-winner, this collection of non-fiction – as broad as the Bosphorus, and just as sparkling – makes a magical place to start. It gathers domestic sketches, tales of his beloved Istanbul, essays on other writers from Sterne to Camus, powerful words of witness in defence of freedom, reflections on the illusory chasm between "East" and "West", and a clutch of interviews.
He is generous and winning company, perfectly served by his translator, Maureen Freely. Pamuk's humour, melancholy, nostalgia, and relish for the quirks of Istanbul ("the centre of my world") bring him much closer to the colours of English writing than many foreign masters. We should warm to the wisdom of this vision of the writer's gift: "the artistry to tell his own stories as if they were other people's stories, and...other people's stories as if they were his own".
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