Let me begin to tell you, how I love books. Books are my sanctuary, they are my haven, my escapade.
I can tell how good the book is by reading the first two passage of the books. If a book starts with a melancholic tone, I would know how somber and dark the story will be. If a book starts with an upbeat optimism, whatever mood u are in, you would probably succumb to the mood in which the writer is trying to convey. I however, I prefer when the writer starts with curiosity like in the "Life of Pi by Yann Martel." There are many types of genre of novel that I read, but I wouldn't call myself a Universal Book Reader. I am quite picky when it comes to book.
There are some books that I would love to grab and have it stacked neatly on my shelf, but because of its high prices (I don't buy books above RM 50), I would tend to make a mental note and try to find those books in a flea market. There are several books that I've been itching to buy and have. I have a disorder, Book Collector Disorder, its a disorder in which collecting book is no longer a hobby but something that I need to do. (This disorder is entirely a fabrication, but any book lover would understand).
There are several great authors that I have yet to read their masterpiece. There are the following ;
1) George Orwelli : 1984
2) Gabriel Garcia Marquez : One Hundred Years of Solitude
3) Franz Kafka : The Metamorphosis
4) Haruki Murakami : 1q84
5) Orhan Pamuk : My Name Is Red
Please, play the drum rolls everyone!
I am happy to inform u my dear and loyal readers (I doubt; I will be having any hits in this), that I have read the 5th book on the list. This is all thanks to Mr Haikal Hikmal. While I am at it, I might say a few words of gratitude to Haikal for lending me this amazing piece of literature, if it wasn't for him I would have never known such a beautiful and extraordinary masterpiece!
Part I : Beginning
I rarely make any commentary reviews because the fact is, I might have a lot of things to say and most of the time its really hard to judge a book after u r done reading it. I have never, mark my words, ever, write any commentary reviews as long as this one. There are several other good books that I would recommend in which it is as good as this book, but in the sense, Orhan Pamuk wrote the book so well that it would be sin not to share the depth and impact it has made readers.
You know a book will be good when the chapter begins with " I am A Corpse". It doesn't have any melancholic feel to it nor an optimistic feel to it, nay, it was quite contrary.
It didn't have any philosophical depth like :
I am A Corpse; as in I am a man who doesn't anything in life but numbness.
It doesn't have any hidden message such as.
I am a Corpse : I have longed to be a human and feel the world as others. Nay nay!
It was quite simple really.
I am A Corpse : I am a guy who got killed by someone I knew. I died because the murderer push me into the well. I died. Therefore I am a Corpse. A body without a soul. Literally.
Like I said earlier, one could judge how good a book really is by the first two passage. Even by the first passage u would be surprise how simple yet elegant Orhan managed to write his story. It was so elegantly written one could imagine it being as smooth as the silk itself. The book is simple, yet it has its own depth that readers need to understand.
Part II : I am the Murderer.
In the middle of reading this, I couldn't help but see the similarity in the style of which Pamuk depicts the Murderer. The last murder/mystery novel that was as thrilling and as good as Pamuk's would be Fyodor Dostovesky (Which is also one of most favourite authors all time). To some who have read, Dostoevsky's work might disagree with me, saying that his work was much blunt and is not as sophisticated as Pamuk's. Well, dear sir, this is only my opinion, and my opinion alone. But yes, Dostovesky's work was much more dark. In his novel he describe that the murderer is trying to run away from his crime and was quite ashamed in his own crime. But in Pamuk's story, the murderer was quite the contrary. He was much more vain, he was even proud in his crime. In a few chapter, the killer was confident enough to brag about how intelligent and calculative he was in his manoeuvre. He was quite sure that no one would/could ever catch him and he would be safe.
Perhaps, this is why I relate Pamuk's work to Dostovesky, how different the two characters are. In Dostovesky Crime & Punishment, the character reveals his true identity but he is scared, unsure, sick and is depress in his own vile action that he whimpers and crumble and even hope that someone would/might catch him. While in Pamuk's work, the character is a totally different, in the sense that he hides his true identity. He doesn't reveal his name, character or even personality and leaves reader wondering. Every reader who have read Pamuk's book would somehow wish that they have the same 6th sense that the infamous Detective Sherlock Holmes has in detecting a criminal.
If u would give a minute or two and just think: what does evil really mean? Does it mean, how we establish an action or how react a killer react after killing another person? One might say, that evil would means both: having the intention to kill and the reaction one have after killing another human being.
I might agree, but only to a certain extent.Yes, I might agree, that if a person who has the intention to kill someone might not be call evil but to actually kill someone, yes, there is a definite line which separates a normal being from a criminal. However, there is a certain degree of evil that we can establish from the killers reaction. One might assume, that if a killer is in a lot of distress after killing someone, we might assume that the killer is quite sorry in his action. If u were to read, Crime and Punishment, the writer depicts how the Murderer was sick and bed ridden for days after he murdered his victim. He was describe as melancholic, depressed, feeble and somewhat mad.
But in I am Red, Pamuk wrote that the Murderer was quite calculative, that the murder was planned and was well organized. In a few chapter, reader would notice that the murderer was somewhat vain, egoistic, narcissistic and proud. He was too proud, and he believed and was confident that he was indeed above the law, and no one would know who he truly is. However, it was quite ironic that there some small trace of fear in the murderer as he didn't reveal his identity to the reader, leaving us (esp me) agitated and quite intrigued in the true identity.
Part III : Philosophy Vs Religion
In every book, where there is a murder there would be a murderer, no? Yes. But not all murderer in a typical book u read would have a true grip of his/her religion. In I am Red, the murderer was a true believer in god. He wasn't an atheist nor was he has liberal mind. To me, he is considered as a conservative muslim. In an era where Ottoman Empire ruled and their Sultan came second after God, it wasn't so surprising that the Murderer tried his best to conceal his true identity. (Yet, he didn't do so well in concealing his pride)
I find it entirely amusing to read and be a spectator in the scene where the murderer has contradiction with his own principle. Here is a man, who loves his God, who would do anything to protect his religion. But he is also a painter, a miniaturist: he believe that the Western Art is despicable and doesn't belong. Then again, he is only a miniaturist, a servant to a master, his arts are his pride, but how could he be proud of such arts that could contradict with his religion?
PART IV : THE ART OF SEX
Yes, sex is an art. And only few can manage to describe how artistic and erotic sex and romance can be. Pamuk managed to do that. He made sex looks as beautiful as Mona Lisa's Smile and it was sensual yet erotic! At the same time u manage, to see how beautiful sex really is. In this modern age, we need to be reminded how sex was a topic that can only be discussed behind the doors ; and he managed just that. He was talking about sex, but not in a direct manner in which it could sometimes be a turn off, nay, he wrote it a very discreet yet romantic manner that I find myself longing for more. How I wish he wrote more the scene between Black and Shekure ; the secret indulgence that the two loves had in the Jewish House. Every single words by Pamuk was arousing, every single detailed he wrote was so precise and intense, one could not do anything else but longed for more!
I have never, written such a long review before. I hope, the length doesn't stop u from reading the review. Sorry for any spelling or any grammatical error. Au Revoir!