Snow by Orhan Pamuk – 20 Books of Summer

Snow by Orhan Pamuk was first published in the UK in 2004, was originally published in Turkey in 2002 and was translated by Maureen Freely. This is the thirteenth book that I’ve read from my 20 Books of Summer list and I put it on the list because it’s one of the many books in translation that Jack has bought over the years and I thought it was about time I gave some of them a go.

I must admit that I had a hard trudge through the first half of this book. The setting is Kars which is a remote city in Turkey, it’s where the poet Ka grew up, he has been living in Frankfurt for the last few years and he has returned supposedly to gather information to help him write an article for a German newspaper. The trouble for me was that the modern day Turkey kept getting in the way as everything at the moment in Turkey is the opposite of what it was in this book. Now the country is ruled by a supposedly fundamentalist Islamic leader. In Kars young women are beginning to cover their head with scarves and are even being banned from school and colleges if they refuse to remove their headscarves. There has been a spate of young women committing suicide, possibly because of the pressure to go bare headed but it might be because of the pressure their parents put on them to marry. Ka wants to investigate but he becomes embroiled with the political situation, the Islamists, army and the never changing plight of the Kurds feature. As the city becomes cut off due to the heavy snowfall there’s a clash between the political Islamists and the army. Ka had already witnessed a murder – it’s not a healthy place for him to be.

He has also fallen in love/lust with Ipec a beautiful woman that he has known since they were at school together so there’s romance of a sort here too. Strangely the author himself appears in this book towards the end, I’m told this is normal for a Pamuk book. Half-way through the book I thought I would probably give it three stars but by the end I upgraded it to four.

Edited to add:

One character more or less predicts the future in Turkey exactly as it is now when he says –

“If they don’t let the army and the state deal with these dangerous fanatics, we’ll end up back in the middle ages, sliding into anarchy, travelling the doomed path already well travelled by so many tribal nations in Asia and the Middle East.”

A Smattering of Snow

Balbirnie snow

After what seems like a couple of months of almost non stop rain we were promised dry but colder weather. I was quite surprised when it snowed though, just an inch or two lay, which is enough for me. I hadn’t had a decent walk for ages due to all the rain, so I took myself out the back gate this afternoon and took the camera with me. Come and join me on my walk!

Below is the edge of a golf course so it’s a bit more manicured looking.
Balbirnie in Fife

What do you call these golf things, water traps maybe? Anyway today it was well frozen over.

Balbirnie

Yes, that is actually the sun shining on those trees, amazing.

Balbirnie in Fife

Balbirnie snow in Fife

I had the whole place to myself. I saw plenty of dog and dog walker tracks but no sign of actual people or animals, and sadly no deer, even though I went off piste and walked through the woods and rough grass.

Balbirnie, Fife

It was great to see the sun at last.

Balbirnie in Fife

I hope that wee stroll blew some of your cobwebs away – it certainly got rid of mine!

View from a Room

We had some of the best weather we’ve had all year in the autumn, so mild and dry. A week or so ago the view from our guest bedroom window looked like this; –

trees in Fife

and this; –

trees in Fife

Yesterday it looked like this, yes we’ve had our first snowfall of the winter, and more plonked itself down on top of this dusting. It should disappear tomorrow though as we’re supposed to be back to reasonably mild weather, around 12 Celsius. I’m glad about that, it’s nice to look out onto a snowy landscape now and again but I soon get fed up with it.

snow in Fife

My Snowy Garden

Brrr! This is what I woke up to this morning.

snow

I had somehow managed to forget that the move to the new house, much further away from the River Forth, would mean that we were likely to get much more snow. We did actually drive into Kirkcaldy today and sure enough – there was no snow there!

I’m not mad keen on snow, it’s fine to look out on as long as you have plenty of food in the house, but I hate the thought of having to travel in it. In my ideal world snow would only arrive for Christmas Day and disappear before everybody had to go back to work.

Yesterday I was saying – roll on the winter solstice and now I’m saying – roll on the spring weather. How we wish our lives away!