I haven’t cried after finishing a book in a long time. The one time I still remember is Winnetou, but I was 11 years old at the time.
Orhan Pamuk’s “The New Life” was given to me by D. as a gift on my name’s day. It was not planned to start reading it. You see, I have this schedule for books (as there are so many due reading), but I had forgotten the book I was currently reading at D’s, so I picked it up and hardly took breaks from reading it since.
Why I cried in the end? Why the feeling it was all unfair in this world? Why the feeling it could have been my story written there, given the adequate circumstances? Well, that is something you will find out while reading the book.
It is a story of a book able to change young lives, able to make one abandon one’s old ways and embark on a journey full of adventure, dizziness, the proximity of death, happiness and sorrow, hopefully leading to a new life. Signs are everywhere: unique moments, strange meetings, angels, movies, TVs, the New Life caramels, the old and the new fighting against each other.
It is a story about love. About how it can be deceiving, about how it can bring joyful hope and painful despair. Of how it is misunderstood or searched for in all the wrong places. About the illusion of love and about its essence. About how one can suddenly discover it has been right there all along, but only when it’s too late.
It is also a story about the old ways being corrupted by the West. By its cowboys, its colorful ads, its synthetic foods and beverages, its unhealthy behaviors. And how this invasion of fake global values can break the hearts of so many, of how it can drive them to insanity and to murder.
Finally, it is a story about how hard it is to distinguish about destiny, faith, coincidence, accidents and predetermined paths. About suddenly making a connection between your past, present and future while watching a train go by and remembering a stop’s name. It is a book I’ve immensely enjoyed reading. And that I warmly recommend to others.
My first Orhan Pamuk book was The White Castle, before the Nobel winner prize trend had started. Yet it was “The New Life” the one that made my realize I love his style and left me craving for more. “My name is Red” is the next one on the list.