Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk is published by Faber & Faber, priced £18.99.
Orhan Pamuk's first novel after a six-year hiatus, Museum of Innocence, is an 83-chapter tome that comes with its own museum.
Each chapter corresponds to 83 displays of objects to be exhibited at Pamuk's actual museum in Cukurcuma, Istanbul, scheduled to open in summer 2010.
Set mostly in the 1970s, the novel tells of 30-year-old Kemal, scion of one of Istanbul's most wealthy families belonging to the beau monde, and his moving albeit miserable affair with his beautiful 18- year-old cousin, Fusun, a "common shop girl". He misconstrues his lust for love and jeopardises his engagement to a more suitable woman, the Sorbonne-educated Sibel, daughter of a retired diplomat.
They break the engagement off only for Kemal to then discover that Fusun has married. There begins his peculiar, nearly-Proustian collection of Ephemera, objects that remind him of his beloved – from hair barrettes to cigarette stubs.
A bittersweet love story ostensibly about a beloved, but in actuality, it is one dedicated to Istanbul.
Pamuk takes us through its winding streets and shows us its culture, its people and its struggle to reconcile its Islamic culture with its Western influences and aspirations.
9/10 Review by Trisha Andres