Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Aimless Reading: The P's, Part 16 (Orhan Pamuk)

Other Colors by Michael_Kelleher
Other Colors, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.
Pamuk, Orhan
Other Colors

Sent to me by the publisher. Inscribed:

November 8, 2007

To Michael and Lory [sic]
          and angry mama cat!

Orhan Pamuk

I am trying to remember the significance of this inscription, but I don't quite recall what it was. I'd spent the day driving him around town. At about five in the afternoon, with about an hour to kill before the reception, we were passing near our house in Black Rock when suggested we stop there for a cup of coffee.

I have a photo of Lori and Orhan standing next to each other in our kitchen. She's wearing a turquoise turtle neck, holding her arms behind her back. There's a couple of inches of space between the two of them. She's smiling a slightly awkward smile. He's standing, about a foot taller than she, in a black coat, white shirt, and green tie, an abstract smile on his bespectacled face.

I am suddenly reminded of how nice that house was, how warm the kitchen, the wood, the colors. Too bad we hated the neighborhood. Our cats, Mama and Baby, used to force their plump little bodies into two little shipping boxes on the floor. They would have been sitting just behind Pamuk in the photo. I am not sure whether Baby was still alive at that point. I think she had passed away, hence the reference to the one cat. I wonder if Mama hissed at him. She's gone now, too.

Anyhow, I don't always ask authors for their autographs, but in this case I did. He signed the book on our kitchen island -- ah, the beautiful granite kitchen island -- farewell!

from Other Colors
from "How I Got Rid of Some of My Books"

Because I fear "attachments" as much as I fear love, I welcome any pretext to get rid of books. But in the past ten years I've found a new excuse, something that never occurred to me before. The authors whose books I bought in my youth and kept and sometimes even read, because they were "our nations writers," and even quite a few of the writers I read in the years that followed--in recent years they have colluded to assemble proof of how bad my own books are. In the beginning I was happy they took me so seriously. But now I am glad to have a pretext even better than an earthquake for clearing them out of my library. This is how my Turkish literature shelves are quickly losing works by half-witted, mediocre, modestly successful, bald, male, degenerate writers between the ages of fifty and seventy.

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