After finishing After Dark by Haruki Murakami, which left me rather confused, what did I do? I popped in the first of what would be 15 long discs of Snow by Orhan Pamuk. Reading the back cover, I would have thought Snow would be right up my alley – the story takes place in a small town in Turkey and deals with Muslim girls wearing or not wearing head scarves. Unfortunately, listening to this one didn’t make my commute go by any faster.
Ka, a Turkish poet, has spent roughly a decade of exile in Germany. He returns to Kars, a small Turkish town of his youth, as a journalist to investigate a rash of suicides by young Muslim girls. It is presumed that the girls are killing themselves due to a new law by the Turkish government forbidding them to wear their headscarves to school. Is this the true reason for the suicides? Ka claims he has come to town to learn the truth. His real goal appears to be to find Ipek, the beautiful, recently divorced woman of ealier days and profess his love to her.
Once in Kars, Ka moves rather easily around the town, discussing religion, suicide and love, in exhaustive detail, with anyone he can find, which is rather easy since all the roads are closed due to a massive snow storm. He connects with government officials and those that are hiding from the government and seems to move seamlessly between these worlds. He witnesses a murder and an uprising. While learning more about God and religion, Ka spends so much energy pining away for Ipek that I felt embarressed fo him. Listening to him go on and on I felt like I was trudging through five feet of snow never reaching my destination.
Did I mention that Mr. Pamuk writes in amazing detail? Some readers will find his descriptions poetic and beautiful. They were just too much for me. I continued to insert cd after cd, waiting for something to happen, and when it finally did, I almost missed it amidst the drawn out dialogue. I listened to every single cd and was surprised by the turn of events at the end. Or maybe I was just glad it was over.
Snow was recommended to me as one of the “best books I’ve ever read” by my very intelligent uncle, so although the critically acclaimed Mr. Pamuk wasn’t my style, he could be yours.