Memoir: Istanbul

Orhan Pamuk “From a very young age, I suspected there was more to my world than I could see: somewhere in the streets of Istanbul, in a house resembling ours, there lived another Orhan so much like me that he could pass for my twin, even my double. I can’t remember where I got this idea or how it came to me. It must have emerged from a web of rumours, misunderstandings, illusions and fears. But in one of my earliest memories, it is already clear how I’ve come to feel about my ghostly other.”

So opens Orhan Pamuk’s poetic portrait of his childhood in Istanbul. Istanbul and its people comes alive in Orhan’s imagination. The fronts of cars resemble noses, his classmates look like animals. “The boy with the pointed nose was a fox, and the big one next to him was, as everyone said, a bear, and the one with the thick hair was a hedgehog.”

The reason the opening paragraph of his memoir connects so much with me is that I remember having the same feelings as a child. I would lay in bed in my attic bedroom, wondering about the other Sandra out there in some parallel world: what was she doing, was she listening to the sound of the waves breaking on the distant beach, listening to the strange dusty rustlings coming from the roof above her head, worrying if she had got her homework wrong and wondering if she dare risk her father’s wrath and go downstairs to change it.
‘Istanbul: Memories of a City’ by Orham Pamuk [UK: Faber]

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Memoir: ISTANBUL by Orhan Pamuk #books via @SandraDanby