Norman Stone

A City Facing West

Istanbul: Memories of A City

By

Faber & Faber 253pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

You live until you are thirty, said Graham Greene, and after that it is all memory. This present book, by the well-established Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, is a good idea: childhood and late-adolescent autobiography woven into a picture of Istanbul, at the time, and earlier. Pamuk writes a very intricate Turkish, and has not always been well served by his translators. In this case, he has found Maureen Freely, bilingual (having grown up in Istanbul) and a distinguished writer in her own right: she has done a wonderful job, which does not read at all like a translation, and, having managed a good part of the book myself, somewhat painfully, in the original, my admiration for what she has done is boundless.

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