Book - 2011
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Random House, Inc.
The Nobel Prize–winner’s second novel to appear in an Everyman edition is a spellbinding story of a poet seeking his lost love in a remote Turkish town riven by religious conflict and cut off from the world by a blizzard.

Returning to Turkey from exile in the West, Ka is driven by curiosity to investigate a surprising wave of suicides among religious girls forbidden to wear their head scarves in school. But the epicenter of the suicides, the eastern border city of Kars, is also home to the radiant and newly divorced Ýpek, a friend of Ka’s youth whom he has never forgotten and whose spirited younger sister is a leader of the rebellious schoolgirls. As a fierce snowstorm descends on Kars, violence between the military and local Islamic radicals begins to explode, and Ka finds his sympathies drawn in unexpected and dramatic directions.

Baker & Taylor
After years of lonely political exile, Turkish poet Ka returns to Istanbul to attend his mother's funeral and learns about a series of suicides among pious girls forbidden to wear headscarves.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2011
ISBN: 9780307700889
Branch Call Number: Fiction Pam
Characteristics: xxvii, 460 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Freely, Maureen 1952-


From the critics

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Aug 12, 2018

Couldn't finish it, story line was just too slow.

May 08, 2017

An evocative and haunting look at life in a small border city in Turkey, which in the larger picture is attempting to deal with its past and its future. The smaller picture of the novel is how people deal with life in such a setting. Some of the poetic aspect of the novel is surely lost in translation, however the strong themes come through very clearly. Worth reading if you are interested.

Apr 17, 2017

Beautiful book. Sad. Funny. Poetic.
Very touching, moving… Very European...

Dec 26, 2015

While the writing was excellent I could not wade through the lean story amid the politics. Just not my cup of tea,

Mar 02, 2014

I think it's safe to say that Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk is Turkey's greatest living novelist (Go ahead, name another Turkish novelist) and that this is his most famous and well-regarded book. Turkey is a country caught between Europe and the Middle East, between the future and the past, between secularism and Islam and Pamuk eloquently and perceptively captures these tensions in this novel about an exiled poet returning home. The mixture of the political and personal reminded me somewhat of Czech novelists like Kundera and Klima.

Dec 26, 2012

Terrible writing,
No Plot's
Terrible book
Terrible author

Jan 10, 2010

I liked this book as a window onto life in an isolated part of Turkey, and as a story in which Islam is featured. A way to learn about another culture and religion different than my own. Engaging and funny at times, but I found it a bit slow and hard to grasp in places.

AD_Library Aug 08, 2009

One of Turkey’s most notable and admired authors takes us on a journey delving into the blurry push-pull lines between Secular Turkey and the rise of Fundamentalists. Ka, a poet who was exiled to Germany, returns to Istanbul for his mother’s funeral. There he hears of a suicide epidemic in Kars (the east side of Turkey) by young Muslim girls who have been banned from wearing their headscarves at school. Posing as a journalist, Ka travels to Kars to investigate the situation (but also is chasing after his lost love, Ipek, who makes her home there) and finds his atheist mentality confused by Blue, an admired “rebel” who has a romance with Ipek’s sister, Kadife. The work is a translated text, which perhaps impacted my opinion of the writing, which is tender and detailed, but perhaps not to my taste.
Two stars (out of five)


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Jan 10, 2010

“Everything in the world is interconnected and I too am inextricably linked to this deep and beautiful world.” (Chapter 32).


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