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Illuminating the human heart

The Nobel winner of 2006 has defied the prize’s curse to write a rich novel that is both a tragic love story and an epic poem, nestled in its setting of Istanbul

By Julian Evans   January 2010

The Museum of Innocence By Orhan Pamuk (Faber and Faber, £18.99)

Orhan Pamuk’s novels are long, winding cavalcades of story, fluttering with colour and movement, freighted with effortless prose and marshalled into beautifully organised and timetabled networks. So I will say it now: they’re mostly too long. Snow (2004, 440 pages) is too long. My Name Is Red (2001, 503 pages)—which more than any other novel propelled him to the welcome of the Swedish Academy and the Nobel prize in 2006—is too long. And The Museum of Innocence, at 532 pages excluding its “Index of Characters” (there are 148…

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