Somewhere in Istanbul …

It was time to change the photo on this blog. Our fabulous summer of 2013 family holiday in the US has finally been replaced by our fabulous 25th-anniversary-of-living-together long weekend in Istanbul last October, in terms of the number of photos of fantastic places taken per day of visit.. This particular photo is of somewhere near our hotel, I forget even the district name and can’t be bothered to check Google Maps just now.

A gorgeous city, with beautiful tiles and mosaics everywhere. Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Rüstem Pasha Mosque, Chora Church, the bazaar, the streets, and that’s just the man-made stuff. I haven’t mentioned the people or the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn or the food or …

the museum of innocenceI read The Museum of Innocence by Ohran Pamuk, a recommendation from my Mum, while and after I was there. There’s not a lot to say about that book except that I loved it. It definitely has a dream like quality and it literally entrances you. It’s the life story of man, with an almost exclusive focus on the great love of his life. It was a very different reading experience for me with My Name Is Red which left me a little cold. The writing style seemed so different, notwithstanding the different setting (time wise, from memory My Name Is Red is set in 16th century Istanbul, whereas The Museum of Innocence is also set in Istanbul, but mostly in the – nineteen – seventies), that I thought I should check whether they had been translated by the same person.My  name is red They haven’t but as I don’t read Turkish, I have no idea whether the translation styles were different or whether the original texts’ were.

My Name Is Red purported to be a bit of a mystery novel, but I felt it was mysterious in unintentional ways… It should have had all the ingredients that would in theory make a good book for me: it was about a manuscript, there were reflections on art and religion and freedom, snapshots of a fabled city at the height of its power and influence, but the details are now all hazy and I remember that it left me feeling puzzled, not in a very satisfying way.The Museum of Innocence, on the other hand, was just like gliding on the Bosphorus, with all the time in the world to take in what lies on either side of the Strait…

A friend has now lent me  Istanbul, Memories and the City. I’m really curious about it.

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