The Red-Haired Woman
A virtuosic and spell-binding novel from Orhan Pamuk – the Nobel Prize-winner’s tenth novel.
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Shortlisted for the EBRD Literature Prize for best work of literary fiction translated into English.
On the outskirts of a town thirty miles from Istanbul, a master well-digger and his young apprentice are hired to find water on a barren plain. As they struggle in the summer heat, excavating metre by metre, the two will develop a father/son bond that neither has known before. But in the nearby town, where they spend their evenings, the boy will find an irresistible diversion. The Red-Haired Woman, an alluring member of a travelling theatre group, catches his eye, and she seems as fascinated by him as he is by her. But in his distraction a horrible accident occurs, and he will spend his life unaware of the outcome, or who the Red-Haired Woman was, until many years later…
An ending that makes you immediately start the book all over again speaks for itself.
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.
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.
Some things never get obsolete, including good writing by masters like Pamuk.
Saturated with sympathy and sense of place, the book charts a boy’s journey into manhood and Turkey’s into irreversible change . . . This book sings with the power of diverse remembrance.
He is a weaver of tales par excellence, with an unmatched sense for the ways that social change affect individual psychology and a restrained, genteel prose style that disguises the unruly passions just below the surface . . . Enchanting.
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