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Other Colors: Essays and a Story [Hardcover]

Orhan Pamuk , Maureen Freely
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Sept. 18 2007
Knopf Canada is proud to welcome Orhan Pamuk to the list with an inspiring and engaging collection of essays on literary and personal subjects–his first new book since winning the Nobel Prize.

In the three decades that Pamuk has devoted to writing fiction, he has also produced scores of witty, moving and provocative essays and articles. Here is a thoughtful compilation of a dazzling novelist’s best non-fiction, offering different perspectives on his lifelong obsessions.

Pamuk’s criticism, autobiographical writing and meditations are presented alongside interviews he has given and selections from his private notebooks. He engages the work of other novelists, including Sterne and Dostoyevsky, Salman Rushdie and Patricia Highsmith, and he discusses his own books and writing process. We learn not just how he writes but how he lives as he recounts his successful struggle to quit smoking and describes his relationship with his daughter. Ordinary events–applying for a passport, the death of a relative–inspire extraordinary flights of association as the novelist reflects on everything from the child’s state of being to divergent attitudes towards art in the East and West.

Illustrated with photographs, paintings and the author’s own sketches, Other Colors gives us Orhan Pamuk’s world through a kaleidoscope whose brilliant, shifting themes and moods together become a radiant and meaningful whole.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Though the latest book from Nobel Prize-winning Pamuk (Istanbul, Snow) is a standard late-career essay collection, it makes clear the reasons behind the Turkish author's acclaim. Eschewing flash and flourish, Pamuk's style is plain, simple and persuasive-but therein lies its subtle power, well represented over more than 75 pieces divided into sections like "Living and Worrying" and "Politics, Europe, and Other Problems of Being Oneself." Self-reflection and cultural evolution emerge often as twin themes, as in his consideration of the Thousand and One Nights: "In those days, young Turks like me who considered themselves modern viewed the classics of eastern literature as one might a dark and impenetrable forest." These concerns lead naturally to political considerations, such as his conclusion that "the lies about the war in Iraq and... secret CIA prisons have so damaged the West's credibility in Turkey... it is more and more difficult for people like me to make the case for true western democracy in my part of the world." There's humor as well; in "Giving Up Smoking," a smoking cab driver begs Pamuk's pardon: "He was opening the window. 'No,' I said, 'keep it closed. I've given up smoking.'" Also included are musings on his own books and a short story, "To Look Out the Window." Disarmingly honest, Pamuk refuses to give in to melodrama or stylistic quirks, giving his feeling and frustration crystalline clarity and lasting weight.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Pamuk is that rarest of creatures, a fabulist of ideas…In Other Colors…Pamuk gives us several of his many selves in a centrifugal gathering of memory-pieces, sketches, interviews and unexpected flights…[that] feel more like a rich and suggestive set of explorations…His books are, really celebrations of multiplicity…the mysteries they set up are always more delicious than any attempt to solve them…Yet mostly what this collection gives us…is a chance to savor one of the inimitable literary storytellers of our time…Pamuk is taking the world we thought we knew and making it fresh and alive.”
- Pico Iyer, New York Times Book Review

“He is the poet of the labyrinth of his own thoughts and conceits, of the fabulous and the gently ambiguous.”
- Colin Thubron, The New York Review

“what emerges…is a voice, part playful and part deadly, whose refracted reality a real nightingale might envy.”
- Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Other Colors is composed of shrewdly arranged occasional pieces, fragments from journals and other miscellany, edited and at times rewritten to form a remarkably cohesive picture of a literary man…Beyond its clever charm and its wise observations Other Colors is a plea to stand back and consider the historical and psychological causes of today’s alarming headlines.”
- Roger Kaplan, Washington Post Book World

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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insights Feb. 4 2009
Format:Paperback
Excellent reading certainly for lovers of this author's novels.
A great introduction for those who have not.
Amusing, philosophical, and fascinating.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Other Colors? Think Rainbow Jan. 26 2008
By Byron Reimus - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Not a moment or detail of life and living appears to pass Orhan Pamuk by without notice. This collection is breathtaking, both in terms of the wide range of topics he tackles and how easily he transitions between what might otherwise be considered mundane vs. majestic moments. The glue here is that Pamuk brings an incredible eye and humanity to everything he touches, leaving little to get lost in translation. Few writers that I have come across over the years capture the texture and tone of those often simple daily scenes more sparingly, vividly and memorably. Fewer still write as though literally every single word on every page matters. Here, they do, in the hands of someone who clearly loves everything about putting pen to paper. You can't help but read a book like this and savor the experience. What a joy--I finished it only a few days ago and I'm already looking forward to re-reading.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orhan Pamuk deserved the Nobel Prize Oct. 24 2007
By La BugZ - Published on Amazon.com
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An outstanding book, one I parceled off in reading for as long as i could because it is such a fine piece of writing. The Nobel Address was particulary moving but for that matter, the entire book was. I look forward to the next publication of Mr. Pamuk's and only regret I could not hear and seem him at Stanford University a few days ago.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Resurrection of the Ordinary Nov. 1 2007
By prisrob - Published on Amazon.com
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"Pamuk has two enduring loves: books and Istanbul. Often they converge as his journeys through his hometown come to resemble excursions through memory itself." Pico Iyer

I had the extraordinary good fortune to see and hear Orhan Pamuk speak at Dartmouth College about his life, his writing, his family and his books, on the first anniversary of his Noble Prize for Literature. Orhan Pamuk elicited total attention as he brought us from his education as an architect to a realization that his life was in writing. His life was not complete without books, paper and pen, and he spoke emotionally about his writing life. "It keeps me sane", he said. There you have it. In this day and age of stress and strain, as he said "I feel as if I have two souls, sort of schizophrenic". I understand this completely after reading his book 'Other Colors'. Like his country, Turkey, he is caught between two continents Asia and Europe. He sits at his desk looking out towards the Bosphorus Sea and writes about the land and the people he loves.

After Pamuk won the Nobel he was badgered by the press for new stories. He was used to writing slowly, a couple hundred pages a year, but now he needed to have 4 pages in two hours every week. These stories in 'Many Colors' are the accumulation of that time. He was also asked over and over why all his books had the titles of colors, 'The White Castle', 'The Black Book', and 'My Name Is Red'- thus, to satisfy his urge to put one over on the media, he titled this book, 'Many Colors'. This book contains so many fascinating stories. One of my favorites is that of the Ferries of the Bosphorous. When Pamuk was a boy, his father and his friends all chose one ferry that they could identify as theirs. As the ferries would come down the sea towards Istanbul, they could make out their ferry by one characteristic, usually the shape and size of the smokestack. They could then place their ferry, and it seemed their world was a little smaller. Those large ferries are gone now replaced by motorized, faster versions. And, Pamuk speaks lovingly of his daughter, Ruya. One year she did not like school and would spend hours giving her father reasons why she should not attend. He wrote down these daily messages verbatim, and into a story we can all relate to, we have been there. Pamuk tells us about his favorite authors. Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Camus, Bernhard and each author has a place in his heart. He reads them every day and it is because of them he became a writer. He relates his personal experience in an earthquake that took the lives of many of his countrymen. His books are his life, and he writes about book covers, his library, his to be read lists, the Freedom of the writer. Pamuk's guide to the Mediterranean, to the European bank, and the Views from the Capital of the World, New York City. His Interview by Paris Match is a must read, as is his PEN Arthur Miller Speech. And, of course his arrest for his speaking out about the Armenian tragedy. So much to read and to discover about this man.

"In "Other Colors," his first big assemblage of nonfiction, Pamuk gives us several of his many selves inta centrifugal gathering of memory-pieces, sketches, interviews and unexpected flights. The result is a gallery of Pamuks: here is the author of the haunted, half-lit inquiry into melancholy and neglect, "Istanbul: Memories and the City," with further glimpses of the "forest of secret stairways" that is his home; here is the man who so loves books that he wrote a whole novel." Pico Iyer

Orhan Pamuk is a fascinating man who is a writer of the extraordinary. He has taken the extraordinary of life and turned it into a 'resurrection of the ordinary',Marilynne Robinson's novel "Housekeeping" by way of Pico Iyer's"
so that we can better understand the day to day existence of his world. It is easy to fall under Pamuk's spell when he is talking about his writing and his country. I found this book so illuminating. Pamuk has a wonderful sense of humor and irony. He gives photographers 5 minutes to take pictures at the beginning of his lecture, he finds the flashes interfere with his concentration. At the end of his lecture when the question and answer period started, Pamuk would take a flash picture of each questioner. A roar of approval from the audience! Bravo, Pamuk!

Heartily Recommended. prisrob
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opening the Writerly Shell Dec 3 2007
By Susan C. Bentler - Published on Amazon.com
"Other Colors," is a delicious, thoughtful read and a further opening of the writerly shell that insulates Mr. Pamuk from a world wanting badly for a bit order and deliberation. Perhaps this explains the scrutiny the author received as Turkey's author-on-trial-for-thinking-out-loud and Nobel laureate.

Orhan Pamuk is brilliantly able to bring that bit of order and deliberation to the fore writing handsomely from his interior. He describes his writing life with great insight and candor while discussing deliciously, authors he admires. I especially enjoyed the essays in the book about Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Nabokov among others).

Having set aside a rainy, grey Sunday to read "Other Colors," I felt a lovely, lonely empathy for the passages on book-mania. In one essay he describes dead-on, the odd reassurances that a book elicits, not merely as an escape mechanism but also as physical totem.

For those who read Orhan Pamuk, this essay collection is food for a book lover's soul. One story in the book is an evocation of his childhood memories of life with his abandoned mother. It stands out poignantly among the essays as he admits elsewhere in the book that she no longer speaks to him.

How curiously private yet opague is this important, gifted author. Hats off, Mr.Pamuk. As one of your "implied readers" I await anything your pen may put to paper.
5.0 out of 5 stars required reading Jan. 13 2013
By Jeanne M. McNett - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Total, thought-provoking pleasure. One of our best writers. I suggest that you might read everything he has written. For most Americans, he brings a quite other perspective.
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