Friday, October 13, 2006

Obligatory Nobel post

Am completely with what PrufrockTwo says about Orhan Pamuk’s Nobel win in this succinct post - starting with the headline, “Next time it better be Roth”. (It better, better, better, BETTER!) I loved Snow and My Name is Red, and liked Istanbul (my review here), but Pamuk really is too young at 54. (SMS from Hurree Babu yesterday: “I think the Nobel chaps got a bit worried - Sebald and Ananta Toer died before they got theirs, so they probably thought it best to give it to Pamuk before he got bumped off by mad Turks.”)

Anyway, it was a good decision from the political perspective, and it’s greatly pleased nearly everyone I know, so I’ll stop nitpicking. Except to say that I do hope Pamuk’s best work is still to come.


  1. Agreed. Pamuk isn't yet the 'fatwa guy', but he has been the man of the hour for a while now. Not but that I'm happy for him. I do like his writing.

  2. So glad they chose Pamuk, if only everyone would read Snow, it does point out the absurdity of religions.

    I love your reading your blog Jabberwock.

    Apropos religions and their absurdity, here is a good letter from this week's Guardian Weekly :

    Your front page (September 22) is devoted to the Pope's comments on Islam and an exposé by Soumaya Ghannoushi of Christianity's hostility to Islam. Those of your readers, such as myself, who do not subscribe to either of these archaic superstitions will surely find the spectacle of Christianity and Islam slagging it off somewhat unedifying.

    John Roberts
    Labastide-Paumès, France

    Not bad, eh!

    I must try and find a way of sending a card to this John Roberts.

  3. Deborah: thanks. Yes, if one is an atheist (or even just "irreligious"), there's an element of theatre to opening the papers every day and seeing how much these things matter to most of the world's population. (That said, it's not as if everything else in the papers is noble and edifying. Billions of dollars of nuclear spends? Hmmm, I'll pass, thanks. Bipasha Basu's love life? Now that might actually be worthwhile in comparison.)

    Btw, speaking of theatre in this context also reminds me of one of the very best passages in Pamuk's Snow. Amardeep Singh wrote this excellent piece about it.

  4. I can't comment on the merit or timing of the prize (To me, a prize serves as a sieve separating the better ones from the rest of the crowd, helping us discover interesting authors), but Pamuk is a rare author whose characters inhabit you long after you've closed the pages of the book they occupied. Everytime I visit Frankfurt I find myself wondering if those were the streets through which Ka wandered, lonely and loveless, walking into the sex-shops (located uncomfortably close to some Indian shops near the main station). And when I enter Kaufhof I sometimes walk over to the section displaying men's coats, wondering which of these had Ka picked (and cherished so much). I also wonder sometimes about Ka's repeated references to how life would be with Ipek in Frankfurt: the joy with which he writes about the simple act of walking into movie theatre with Ipek and her sister, and later going to Kaufhof to buy something - things that we do on a regular basis here and take for granted...

    And that scene in the Asia Hotel - a masterpiece, and essential reading for anyone at these times...

    (BTW: I searched, and could not find your post on Snow - looks like you should start building up that index!)

  5. The Snow link is under "Books" somewhere on the sidebar. Just a slight, whimsical sort of post comparing the book to Kafka's writing, not a proper review or anything.

    I really do love Snow, especially the Ka character. And it's one of the most profoundly funny books I've read, with the humour enriching the tragedy of some of the situations, not undermining it. Great absurdism.