Thursday, 30 May 2013

I have been reading Orphan Pamuk's book, The Innocence of Objects. It is the accompanying text to The Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, a museum that Pamuk made to illustrate and enhance his novel of the same name. 

The museum is split into sections or cases, that go through the novel's chapters. I particularly liked no. 68., 4,213 Cigarette Stubs. Edmund de Waal wrote in a review of the book in The New York Times, "There is an arrangement of 4,213 cigarette stubs, of which Pamuk writes: 'As Kemal had asked of me, I wrote under each and every one of Fusun's cigarette butts the note our protagonist had made about that particular day. This took me the entire summer of 2011...I felt more like a craftsman than a writer.' "

“As far as I know this is the first museum based on a novel...But it’s not that I wrote a novel that turned out to be successful and then I thought of a museum. No, I conceived the novel and the museum together.” -Orphan Pamuk, quote from J. Michael Kennedy's article in the NY Times, April 29 2012.
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The museum apparently cost Pamuk all of his winnings from the Nobel Prize In Literature, around 1.5 million dollars. In the book he writes that he collected the objects (there are over a thousand) over the years whilst writing the book. He also writes very interestingly about the changes he experienced in Instanbul during the time he was writing and his observations on the flea shops and markets. I go to flea markets regularly and find them to be a really interesting social commentary, they are often the contents of house clearances. You get to see the whole contents of somebody's home. It is also interesting to see how the stall holders placement of value on different objects or trends changes over time. 

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