May 26, 2022

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Review: Orhan Pamuk: "Plague Nights" - this is the book

Review: Orhan Pamuk: “Plague Nights” – this is the book


In his new book, the Nobel Prize winner reflects on world events. does it work?

“This trial is not about my novel at all, it is about ideology,” said Orhan Pamuk. He was summoned for questioning several times after a major Turkish newspaper. freedom Asked. “What is Orhan Pamuk’s goal in mocking Ataturk? Does he want to start riots? Does he want to send a message abroad?”

The novel was The Nights of the Plague, now available in German. In his introduction he stated: “This is a historical novel and a historical novel in the form of a novel. An integral part of a historical framework, it described the six most horrific months in which my beloved homeland, Minger Island, the pearl of the eastern Mediterranean.” However, Minger does not exist. Thus the Pamuk is more misguided here than he is able to find his way through the next labyrinth of narrative.

Pamuk plays in disguise and lets his heroine, a descendant of the fictional Ottoman princess Bakiz, guide you through the plot – but unreliably as a skeptic, since there are no contemporary witnesses that she is not a writer. In any case, she is trying to reconstruct life on the island (between Rhodes and Crete), where the bubonic plague broke out in 1901, from notes and letters.

Oriental and fantasy novels: “Plague Nights”

Describe Pamuk Menger accurately. It is a microcosm of all the atrocities taking place around the world. Bloody struggles for power, sometimes ideological, sometimes religiously motivated. Muslim elders, orthodox priests, an all-powerful sultan named Abdülhamid, an Ottoman princess, Greek and Turkish enemies converge – in a chaos made increasingly difficult to control by the fight against the plague. There is a revolution, a lot of bloodshed, and a coup d’état before Menger can become independent – thanks to the shady leader Kamel. Behind the critics believed that Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, admits.

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What is certainly reflected in the sometimes fairytale-like oriental sliding plot are the sometimes violent halo disputes over the limitations on freedom, including skepticism about science and conspiracy theories. Everything looks like beautiful woodcuts, some of the characters are no more than a sign-giver. And that is exactly what plagues this lavish novel of nearly 700 pages, which swings more poorly than right between poetic novel and political allegory. After all, the Nobel laureate managed to describe the nature of the fictional paradise island of Menger in a very impressive way. Not much for a novel of this size.

Read also about this

the book: Orhan Pamuk: Nights of the Plague. ad. Turkish by Gerhard Mayer, Hanser, 696 pages, €30