August 17, 2014

Book Review: Sessiv Ev (Silent House) by Orhan Pamuk

 Sessis Ev, or Silent House is the second novel by Orhan Pamuk originally written in turkish and later translated into English. His first novel being a turkish book called Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları (Cevdet Bey and His Sons), which I believe was not translated to English. So, for all practical purposes of the Bingo Reading challenge, where I am to read a first book by a favourite author, this book fits the bill. And at the onset I should also add that this book did nothing for me as My name is Red did. That was a different setting and maybe more complex and intertwined to my taste. This was something I picked up, and read through, without really feeling anything much.

Set in a small town outside Istanbul, and revolving around how 3 grandchildren come to visit their ailing grandmother and her help about the house, a dwarf. As we proceed through the book, we see how the past plays out and how the many people in the small town are related yet believes to be unrelated.

 Eldest drinks and binges all through his stay and wonders about his ex-wife and how she enjoys life. He is shown to be someone who wallows in misery and drinks till sleep overbears. Sister lives a life analyzing the communist era and trying to be there for eldest through the rough patch. She aims to spend time with the grandmom though the grandmom does not really believe so. Youngest, with money in his pockets, from private tutoring classes, wishes to woo and live life with the party crowd in this sleepy beach town. He seems to believe he is in love with a girl and it is interesting to see how he misread her intentions, and almost forces himself on him, before taking control of the situation and rethinking what he is going to do. 

One of the characteristic things which I liked when reading My Name is Red was how every chapter would be in the first person narrative of each charachter in the book. This was something new for me, but this book also had the same method of narration. But, when I look at this book, the method seems to be a little more ineffective, or something which he has not mastered to that extend. This book was a good  20 years before My Name is Red, so I believe its safe to believe he was testing out strategies long before the master piece.

Overall the book was not as thrilling as My Name is Red, the plot was not that gripping either. The story was told mostly about thoughts and what each charachter felt as the summer proceeded and how things pan out for each. It was a little slow and also did not really evoke much feelings neither in terms of story or language.

Rating: 2.5/5

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