Magazine article New Internationalist

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Magazine article New Internationalist

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Article excerpt

In late 16th-century Constantinople, just after the Ottoman-Safavid wars, a team of miniaturists beavers away on a major work for the Sultan. In this gateway between Europe and Asia, fundamentalists are damning representational art as an outrage against Islam and demanding that artists not stray beyond manuscript illustration. The artists must choose between the safety of traditional painting methods and the exhilaration of those from devilish Europe.

One miniaturist, thought to side with the fundamentalists, is found murdered. The master, who has a more inclusive view of art, is also killed mysteriously. A third illustrator decides to solve the crimes, but is distracted by his love for a woman who is (or perhaps is not yet) a widow.

For the main characters, art is both `the silence of thought and the music of sight'. …

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