The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk


The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk (Source:

The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk

The story revolves around the protagonist trying to track down his wife, who has disappeared without a trace. Her half-brother, who is a famous columnist with a renowned newspaper, also disappears at the same time and the protagonist is left searching for clues in the various columns authored by his wife’s half-brother, as he tries to track both of them down.

I started reading this book in June and I must say that finishing this book took some effort. It is a heavy book – one of those that require you to read it multiple times to really understand it. For one – this is not a simple story. As Pamuk often does, there are stories within the main story and some of them are really interesting and fascinating. I believe, a part of me continued reading the book driven by these interesting side-stories. His masterful and often melancholic description of Istanbul is captivating – with a bit of imagination, it is not difficult to bring his words to life in your mind.

But yet – it took close to 2 months for me to get through the 450-odd pages. I often had to re-read a few pages to make sense of it all. Don’t get me wrong! I love Pamuk’s work. My Name is Red is one of my all time favourites. I enjoyed reading Snow and White Castle. But in comparison to these, the story of The Black Book is not as crisp – it gets more meandering and slow, as the protagonist (author) contemplates over the questions of identity – of the individuals in the story (and the side stories), of the Turkish society itself, as he explores relationships, the history, and the philosophy of identity.

So, this gets a 3-star rating from me on Goodreads. If you interested in some philosophical read and don’t mind spending time ruminating over the words every few pages, this is the book for you. For me, it will take a massive amount of encouragement to pick it up again.


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