When I am an Eskimo
Waiting at my fishing hole
Adler surfaced and burbled
Things about complexes
I took a complex back to my cold wife
She baked it in her oven
She gave birth to a child
We called him: Alexander the Great.
12th Oct. 2011. Istiklal Cadeci. Lost in translation inside the libraries. No Turkish writer is known to the mind. The artistic covers, the type of papers and the libraries decoration intensifies the feelings of ignorance. When the eyes caught the Latin alphabet they jumped to the conclusion that all book were in English, to be shocked later that most, if not all, were in Turkish. Forgotten was Turkey's use of Latin alphabet. The mission, the boring mission, was to differentiate the name of the writer from the title of the book. It was easy. The titles were not understood, while the authors' names were more close to the heart especially with their Easterners' sounds. And finally the eye falls on a known name. Orhan Pamuk. Orhan Pamuk? "I know that!!" A smile force itself into the silly face.
Most of Orhan Pamuk's novels were there. Among them are the translated ones. "Snow" was chosen because it is translated to English and its back cover tells about a suicide epidemic in an isolated rural area in Turkey. That goes well with the …. with the…. mood? No, not with the mood but…. with something… anyway.
For about a month, different English dictionaries were used: the Oxford, the Penguin, and Al-Sakhar electronic bilingual Arabic-English dictionary. The final conclusion was that not only Turkish language is covered by the cloud of ignorance but also, the English!
The about 400 pages novel deals with the epidemic of suicide in, let us say, 20 pages. About 5 per cent. A post about that part might follow in the future since this novel will not be forgotten easily. Between the events, between the lines, there was the description of the village of Kars, and of its people and their life. Rediscovering the self in Orhan Pamuk's words. Rediscovering the self, under the lights that somebody sheds for you at your dim part, is not always an easy-going experience.
When I was a shrilled-voiced Kurd
In front of Notre-Dame de Paris
My melody was shy and naïve
But when Quasimodo added percussion
La Esmeralda danced
The crowd started to love it
They filled our hats with shillings.
While there was a bloody coup d'état, Orhan Pamuk didn't forget to shed light on people's psyche. First, the reader was little annoyed by the writer's tendency towards delaying the description of the bloody killing for the sake of describing, what was called by the reader as, "silly things", by then. After sometime, the reader finally decided: even at war, our most deep instincts and drives, master us. Wouldn't it be more close to the truth to state: sometimes, our deep drives, come to the surface, especially at the time of war?
When it come to the surface, like a fish for an Eskimo fishing through a hole in the ice, it is better to be hunted, and quickly.
For how long that shrilled-voiced young Kurd dream will stay in the mind? That young Kurd who saw once, before four years from the date of his speech, a Western woman who came for tourism in his village, to visit the Armenian Church. He, who saw that Western woman, for the very few seconds that were enough for her to go down the tourist's bus, kept dreaming about her. He remembers the details. He says: "She was wearing a blue dress that revealed her shoulders." P.288 In the dream, which is already being forgotten to a degree by the reader's "resistance" curtain, he was in front of a screen. Big screen. That same woman was on the screen. He joined her there. She liked him. She even passed her hands kindly and gently upon his cheeks (was it upon his hair? The reader cannot remember exactly). He felt so happy. But then he discovered that he was a child, in that scene, and that she passed her hands, kindly, on him, just because he was a child.
I can still remember how I was annoyed when the adults belittle me. Just before few weeks I was in a visit to my parents, and now that I am 33, I am still in rage when there is a tiny allusion for my "weaknesses" or "immaturity". I even had imagined threatening allusions in love-driven innocent approaches. And like it is the case for the shrilled voice Kurd, the West is another opponent, for the child inside of me.
I think I should read Alfred Adler.
Thanks Orhan Pamuk for such a work. A work that is intermingled inside the psyche of the reader shedding light on the dim corners. Such a rare work. Such a rare effect.