In retrospect, Istanbul is a mightily interesting read. Through the mixing of the personal with the public he creates a fabric, a story that both entertains, disheartens and questions. His sordid explanations of his parents' fights, his antagonistic yet extremely endearing relationship towards his brother, his confusing relationship with his grandmother and his behavior towards his extended family, teachers and peers offer the readers a delightful trip into an alternate world, yet the delight is short-lived with frequent and jarring encounters with reality. The personal autobiography juxtaposed onto the portrait of the city provides for an interesting yet complex project that looks to expose many deep-seated insecurities and simultaneously showcase many of the beautiful elements of both. It is possibly the first work I have read that has shown me how much of a place, of a city, is internal to a person and to an identity, and how much of a person is internal to the city. It is possibly the most interesting bildunsgroman I may have come across – a coming of age of both the city and of Pamuk.
To read Orhan Pamuk's Nobel Lecture, click here. (Editors)