Blasphemous Rumors

Sophisticated provocateur Orhan Pamuk
photo: Jerry Bauer
Sophisticated provocateur Orhan Pamuk


My Name Is Red
By Orhan Pamuk
Knopf, 417 pp., $25.95
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The novel is delightfully sinful, guilty of blasphemy by 16th-century fundamentalist standards (if not 21st as well), what with its orgiastic coupling of men and boys, shrouded women with delectable bodies, and artists seeking to be artists with or without Allah. Pamuk's writing is erudite and magically real, funny and sexy, terrifying and thrilling, always searching for the moment when the soul "escape[s] its mortal coil" and one is happily or heart-wrenchingly lifted out of this world.

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