Essays and a Story
Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307266750, 448pp.
Publication Date: September 18, 2007
Orhan Pamuk’s first book since winning the Nobel Prize, Other Colors is a dazzling collection of essays on his life, his city, his work, and the example of other writers.
Over the last three decades, Pamuk has written, in addition to his seven novels, scores of pieces—personal, critical, and meditative—the finest of which he has brilliantly woven together here. He opens a window on his private life, from his boyhood dislike of school to his daughter’s precocious melancholy, from his successful struggle to quit smoking to his anxiety at the prospect of testifying against some clumsy muggers who fell upon him during a visit to New York City. From ordinary obligations such as applying for a passport or sharing a holiday meal with relatives, he takes extraordinary flights of imagination; in extreme moments, such as the terrifying days following a cataclysmic earthquake in Istanbul, he lays bare our most basic hopes and fears. Again and again Pamuk declares his faith in fiction, engaging the work of such predecessors as Laurence Sterne and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, sharing fragments from his notebooks, and commenting on his own novels. He contemplates his mysterious compulsion to sit alone at a desk and dream, always returning to the rich deliverance that is reading and writing.
By turns witty, moving, playful, and provocative, Other Colors glows with the energy of a master at work and gives us the world through his eyes, assigning every radiant theme and shifting mood its precise shade in the spectrum of significance.
“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