The Red-Haired Woman

Orhan Pamuk
Translated by Ekin Oklap

A gripping tale of love and its consequences, from Turkey’s most celebrated novelist

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Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

‘Saturated with sympathy and sense of place, the book charts a boy’s journey into manhood and Turkey’s into irreversible change’ Financial Times
‘An ending that makes you immediately start the book all over again.’ The Sunday Times
‘Enchanting.’ Wall Street Journal

‘Many years have now gone by, and jealousy compels me to keep her name a secret, even from my readers. But I must provide a full and truthful account of what happened.’

A studious young man spends a summer helping a master well-digger search for water on a barren plain.

As the two struggle in the summer heat, they develop a filial bond neither has known before. In the nearby town where they spend their evenings, a travelling theatre group has come to stay. The young man is fascinated by the Red-Haired Woman, an alluring member of the troupe, and their brief but intense love affair drives everything else from his mind.

But in his distraction, a horrible accident occurs, which will haunt him for thirty years. Until he decides to track down the Red-Haired Woman and finally understand the fallout from that unforgettable summer . . .

Critic Reviews

An ending that makes you immediately start the book all over again speaks for itself.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

The Red-Haired Woman drapes Turkey’s political situation in the language of myth, suggesting that the ancient pairs of Oedipus and Laius and Sohrab and Rostam may have company in the present.

The New Yorker
Critic Reviews

The Red-Haired Woman, like all good novels determined to deliver political and social criticism, understands that pleasure in the means of the delivery must equal the value of the thing said.

Andrew Motion, Guardian
Critic Reviews

Excellent . . . The book’s final section . . . is an extraordinary piece of writing, tying the loose threads of the earlier narratives tightly together, granting us surprising new perspectives on the events of the novel.

Critic Reviews

An amazingly gifted writer.

Critic Reviews

Quietly beautiful.


Orhan Pamuk is the author of many celebrated books, including The White Castle, Istanbul and Snow. In 2003 he won the International IMPAC Award for My Name is Red, and in 2006 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Museum of Innocence was an international bestseller, praised in the Guardian as ‘an enthralling, immensely enjoyable piece of storytelling’.…

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