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Snow, by Orhan Pamuk


As usual, I have a backlog of a number of books to review, but I brought this one forward because it’s one of the most extraordinary books I’ve read.

The book revolves around a poet, Ka, who returns to his homeland from exile – and travels to the remote town of Kars, ostensibly to investigate local troubles in this remote place. It is a short journey of a few days, but it irrevocably changes his life.

It is a novel with many themes – small town politics in Turkey, tensions between secular and religious factions, the development of a poet, love, revolution – the list goes on. But, at the heart of it – I found it to be a book that tries to answer the question – “What drives human beings to do what they do?” The story takes the reader on a roller-coaster journey that unearths not an answer to the question, but unending layers of questions that only show how complex the question can be. I really can’t make myself clearer than this, so there I shall leave my readers to explore.

It is a rather depressing, if not disturbing book – made more so by the spectacular quality of writing; which immerses the reader in the author’s world to a degree I have rarely experienced before. In lesser books, one fights through the fog of words to come up with a clear picture – with this book, it is as if the words did not exist. Orhan Pamuk won the 2006 Nobel prize for literature, and after reading this book, I can understand why.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

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