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Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul

On a windswept afternoon in mid-December, the writer Orhan Pamuk stood in a leafy square around the corner from Istanbul University, absorbed in a 40-year-old memory. He walked past parked motorcycles, sturdy oaks and a stone fountain, browsing through secondhand books in front of cluttered shops occupying the bottom floors of a quadrangle of pale yellow buildings. Sahaflar Carsisi, Istanbul’s used-book bazaar, has been a magnet for literary types since the Byzantine era.

In the early 1970s, Mr. Pamuk, then an architecture student and aspiring painter with a love for Western literature, would drive from his home across the Golden Horn to shop for Turkish translations of Thomas Mann, André Gide and other European authors. “My father was nice in giving me money, and I would come here on Saturday mornings in his car and fill the trunk with books,” the Nobel Laureate remembered, standing beside a bust of Ybrahim Muteferrika, who printed one of the first books in Turkey — an Arabic-Turkish language dictionary — in 1732.

Read more…

Original article was published in NY Times in Jan. 2014.

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