Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pamuk and Istanbul

It seemed appropriate that I was visiting Mr. Pamuk during the off-season, given his focus in books like “Snow” and “Istanbul” on winter, grayness and melancholy. The air was crisp, the light was muted, and although the sun occasionally burst through the clouds, the city seemed largely drained of color. “I have always preferred the winter to the summer in Istanbul,” Mr. Pamuk wrote in “Istanbul.” “I love the early evenings when autumn is slipping into winter, when the leafless trees are trembling in the north wind, and people in black coats and jackets are rushing home through the darkening streets.” From the balcony of his apartment, he looked approvingly at the sun shining weakly through the cloud cover and pronounced it an optimal day for a walk. “If this was a hugely sunny day I would be upset,” he said. “I like the black and white city as I wrote in ‘Istanbul.’ ”

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