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September 29, 2007


Isn't it weird how you hear something over and over again and only the nth time a connection or memory comes to you? Perhaps because you mention the work 'huzun' here right after talking about the melancholy of Autumn, I suddenly remember that I encountered huzun in a Turkish student friend, Fatih, in a Yorkshire Autumn and Winter some thirty years ago, many years before Orhan Pamuk started writing, or I heard the word. The ever-earlier, colder dusk would make my friend inexorably melancholy as each day drew in; "it's because I am an artist", he would say pretentiously, but forgivably (he was very young).

I'm afraid I'm one of those who found The Black Book hard going and gave up. Your account of it here makes me very much want to try again.

Jean, it was eerie, reading the first chapters because I didn't remember that I had started it and given up before! I had this weird sense of deja vu. It's hard going at first; some people felt that way about Snow too but I found Snow easier to get into. My reading was uncharacteristically slow this time, too, but really accelerated after the first section.

There's a new word a coining to describe such a feeling: Diegogarcity (as contrasted with Serendipity).

Great pics, Beth - positively Bonta-esque! And I love that first paragraph - the pics in words.

Saif: is Diegogarcity referring to Diego Garcia? If not, do you know what its origin is?

Hello Cassandra:

I am in love with Pamuk's work; but have not read black yet, which is still on its way. I'll contact you when I have read it. I'd love to talk about his work.

What translation(s) were you reading, if I may ask? Because I did the classic start-stop with the Güneli Gün translation years ago, but picked up the newer Maureen Freely translation this year and found it much more approachable.

and re: the NYT piece, where does Pico Iyer get off calling 'Snow' an "Islamic novel"?! though it was a good piece, otherwise. I've been reading Other Colors lately, bit by bit, and am enjoying it a great deal.

Yes, Saif, I'd like to know the derivation of "Diegogarcity" too...

Gawain, welcome, bienvenue, and thanks for your comment - I'm going to head over and read what you've written about Pamuk and hope you really will get in touch after reading The Black Book.

Elizabeth - hi! - I was reading the Maureen Freely translation. My slowness was really more to do with having little reading time than with some sort of problem with the work itself; I like Pamuk so much and, by now, am very used to his style. Yeah - Iyer called it a "fearlessly topical Islamic novel," no less! Bizarre. I hope you'll be writing about "Other Colors" eventually yourself; I'm looking forward to reading it.

I wouldn't say there's a conspiracy afoot to popularise the word Diegogarcity, but once you come across the word you find many opportunities to tell others about it!


I understand from my searches after reading Saif's comment that diegogarcity is indeed after Diego Garcia, supposedly on the lines of Serendipity being after a place called Serendip (but this may be erroneous and some people maintain that Serendip was a person). I like it, and the phenonomenon it refers to (once you hear about something you have never heard of before you keep coming upon references to it) often happens to me. It isn't exactly what I was describing in my comment, though.

Elizabeth, I can't help wondering if Pico Iyer was a victim of unfortunate subbing re 'Islamic novel' and is wincing even as we speak. (I'm biased, since I admire his work a lot)

Serendipitously, a couple from my parish is coming to Montreal this week for time away together. Their marriage is a bit like a cup of cold coffee with tranquilizers in it. He is taciturn. She is energetically verbose. But they love one another. She is worried that they don't speak French. I told her not to worry, and then I thought, "isn't that lovely? If they're lucky, they'll have no one to talk to but one another!" Think she'll leave? :)


! I wonder too, but I'm pretty sure they'll manage a few days! (At first I used to suffer from "silence" up here too.)

Here via Elizabeth...

So many people blogging about Pamuk lately! I love him dearly so can hardly complain...:)
I really liked your post - many resonant ideas with what I wrote about the book when I finished (http://szerlem.blogspot.com/2006/11/kara-kitap.html), and I do believe it's a masterpiece. It was also interesting to read it because you can almost see the beginings of My Name is Red - in terms of the style and his narration - in the book.

Oh and those wonderful stories - Celals columns! I need to reread :)

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.