I have heard several people refer to Snow as their favorite novel of all time, so I figured it was worth checking out! I picked this up at a used bookstore somewhere in Seattle a few months ago. I really enjoyed Pamuk’s prose and will look forward to reading more of his work sometime in the future (so many books, so little time!).
The book is about Ka, a poet and journalist, who left Turkey to Germany but returned amid a suicide epidemic of young girls. New government rules forbid girls from covering themselves with a headscarf and if they refuse to remove it, they are not permitted to university. This wave of suicides by girls because of this has caused much chaos and turmoil in a poor city of Turkey, Kars, where the book is set.
Ka had lost his inspiration to write poems while in Germany for four years. When he is in Kars to report on the girls, he finds his inspiration returned and starts writing again. Throughout the book he refers to moments where he has to pop into a tea house to write down a poem, or get back to his hotel before he loses it.
Ka also discusses his relationship with God, religion, atheism and so on. This aspect of the novel comes through in his conversations with young teens (one of whom dies tragically at the rise of a revolution) as well as others around.
There is an uprising that causes lots of changes in Kars due to unrest from the locals. I won’t go on too much longer but suffice to say this novel is very complex. It is well written and very powerful. If you are looking to get away from Western writing and explore cultures outside the United States, this might be a great place to start. I highly recommend this book.
Overall rating: 4/5