Istanbul, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Istanbul is a shimmering evocation, by turns intimate and panoramic, of one of the world's great cities, by its foremost writer. Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2006, was born in Istanbul, in the family apartment building where his mother first held him in her arms.

His portrait of his city is thus also a self-portrait, refracted by memory and the melancholy-or huzun- that all Istanbullus share: the sadness that comes of living amid the ruins of a lost Ottoman Empire.

As he companionably guides us across the Bosphorus, through Istanbul's historical monuments and lost paradises, its dilapidated Ottoman villas, back streets and waterways, he also introduces us to the city's writers, artists and murderers.

Like the Dublin of Joyce and Jan Morris' Venice, Pamuk's Istanbul is a triumphant encounter of place and sensibility, beautifully written and immensely moving.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Travel writing
  • ISBN: 9780571218332

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

A wistful, loving memoir of growing up in Istanbul. An impressive example of psychogeography. Orhan Pamuk would not be the writer he is today without his attachment to his city of birth. An encouragement to us all to go out and wander aimlessly through the streets with observant eyes looking for nothing in particular but lighting on the everyday and seeing it through our own unique eyes.

Review by

This is a memoire of a city and a memoire of someone growing up in the city and the effect the city had on him and on all his fellow citizens.<br/>Orham Pamuk is a noted Turkish author and he writes beautifully.<br/>He goes over the history of Istanbul and the melancholy that inflicts it, the ruins and memories of an empire lost.<br/>I don't know how current the description is, since it was published 10 years ago, but it was a very interesting evocation of time and place as the author was growing up.<br/>The book has many black and white photos of old time Istanbul.