Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book review. Pamuk's Museum Innocence. Aren't we all surrounded by thousands of tiny little things of the ones we love(d)?

"What a bore is life and how predictable: to be born, live and die." This is what I told my grandma (from my mothersside) at the age of eight after reading next weeks TV-guide completely. She looked at me with a little mysterious smile and said "Yes, you are right". I was old at the age of eight. The strange thing is this feeling never really left me. In retrospect my opinion back than was only a part of 'homo sapiens' life' truth. In life it's not about milestones it's about all the days in between. It's not about being born, learn to ride a bicycle, fall in love, graduate at highschool, buy a house, become a (grand)parent and die. It's about the 26.000 days in between. Sometimes we think we will never really fall in love. Sometimes we are in doubt about the love we feel. Sometimes we hate our lover. Sometimes it feels as if we are not good enough for our lover and need above all affirmation. Sometimes it's a perfect day, full of love and being loved. Sometimes we don't think at all about our lover - and feel guilty when we realize that. What I'm trying to say is, we (better: I) live our life one day after another. In retrospect we can put milestones in our personal life but it's hardly sensible in the days we are living one by one. Yesterday is one day. Today is one day. Tomorrow and all the other days are one day.

All bookreviews tell more about the reviewer than about the writer of a book. I'm completely aware of that. Last weekend I finished reading Orhan Pamuk's (1952-) book 'The museum of innocence' (in a dutch translation). From a milestone point of view this book is a bore. 30 year old male Pamuk falls in love with 18 year female Fusun while he is going to be engaged in a few weeks with 26 (?) year old female Sibel. The setting is Istanbul, Turkey in the seventies (of the 20th century). Pamuk and Sibel are both rich and are the perfect couple. Fusun is poor.

I was completely addicted to the book after reading the first 20 pages. I knew - not really but I guessed how it would end otherwise there would have been no reason for a "museum" - how the book was going to end but I loved all those thousands and thousands of tiny, little, lovely details of a love. A love between Kemal and Sibel. A love between Kemal and Fusun. All the hesitations, the anger, the insecurity, the perfect moments, the jealousy, the lack of affirmation, the tears, the smiles and the feeling of happiness when you just can touch her or finally see her smile while she looks at you. I loved to read about all the "normal" days when Kemal was surrounded by things of Fusun: touching the saltshacker that once stood at Fusun's house, smelling at the red dress Fusun wore on the day of Kemal and  Fusun's engagement and drinking from a glass Fusun once drank out of.

This is it. This is life. For me it's a book of love in all it's tiny little elements. It tells it all: the hesitations, the good and bad moments and all the feelings in between. It's not a book of milestones. It's a book of all the days in between. For me personally to found a museum for the love-of-my-life is too much. It would be too neurotic. I'll never found a museum for the ones I loved so much and the ones I love right now. I'll never found a museum for the love-of-my-life but aren't we all surrounded by hunderds of things, books, smells, songs, thoughts and dreams of the ones we love(d)?

P.S. More bookreviews of this book can be found here.


  1. Es que creo de eso se trata vivir cariño... de las pequeñas cosas que hacen cada dia distinto del otro, de esas pequeñas cosas que hacemos por nosotros y no por los demas, esas metas y sueños que nos fijamos y tratamos de alcanzar. Del dia a den el amor, de rescatar esas cosas que nos hacen volver a elegir a esa persona especial una y otra vez!
    Esos olores, esa cancion, ese recuerdo...

  2. I wrote a very brief review on Goodreads about the Museum of Innocence, summing it up by saying I'm glad I read it, its probably one of the most important books I've read, but I didn't love reading it. I wasn't hooked until 3/4 of the way through and multiple times I threw the book down and walked away. That Pamuk can keep me there, keep me coming back despite great irritation, is a sign of his mastery. Thanks for sharing your view and nice to connect on Twitter, too.

  3. Jean, o amor e a vida são cheios de contradições mesmo... e eu li Orhan Pamuk, mas foi o livro "Meu nome é vermelho" vou te enviar a resenha que fiz dele!