30 July 2012

The Museum of Innocence, by Orhan Pamuk

I got about 300 pages in and gave up and skimmed the rest to find out how it ended. Pamuk's writing has this fascinating quality for me; I find it incredibly vivid and extremely absorbing - when I'm reading it, I'm IN that world to an astonishing extent - but the glacial pace of his plots, and/or the lack of plot at all, drives me bonkers. I've read, or attempted to read, four of his books now, Snow, The White Castle, The New Life, and this one, and the only one I really liked was the one that is totally anomalous style-wise, The White Castle. Snow was great for the first 100 pages, and then it got annoying and self-aggrandizing (because one presume the protagonist is a thinly veiled version of Pamuk himself). Indeed, many of the books have these "clever," transparently autobiographical moments that I find extremely grating. The Museum of Innocence was especially annoying, with scenes where Pamuk himself appears ("then I walked by the Pamuk family table. Orhan their son who wanted to be a writer, was there."). Ugh.

The plot of this book could be summed up in about four sentences. Which is fine, but it's a little bit melodramatic and not that compelling. Pamuk is a fantastic writer. It's just that the stories he tells are rarely all that interesting.

No comments: