Sunday, June 21, 2009

[My Name is Red]

I just finished reading a novel titled "My Name is Red" by Orhan Pamuk.
Whenever I read a novel I think about three things; the plot, the philosophy or hidden meanings and the literary style.
In this novel the plot is OK... it has its twists and turns but at the end it hits you as another plot that you must've read somewhere else.
As for the philosophy and meanings... the novel tackles a lot of the issues related to art and Islam... especially at the time where the Islamic civilization was being challenged with other strong nearby civilizations.
I didn't like many things of how they portrayed the Muslims... but I'm not in a position to judge the credibility of such stories.
I felt that the author was more inclined toward the figurative representation in the "Frankish" Art as apposed to the abstraction in the Islamic Art.
I know that at that time the Islamic Art was containing drawings and paintings of human figures. I'm not going to enter a discussion regarding whether it is permissible or not... for me honestly I can't see a problem in figurative art. However, as it is right now, abstraction give more meaning to any piece of art since it gives the viewer the empty space to complete the meaning behind the piece.

As for the literary style of the novel... here where the novel caught my attention. And for this reason I do recommend you to read the novel. You'll get exposed to a new way of writing.
The novel is comprised of chapters. Each chapter starts with [I...]... and in each chapter, a character from the story becomes the narrator of that chapter.
The characters were as weird as Satan, a dog, a tree, a murderer, a woman, and the color red.
As described on the back of the novel... it is a kaleidoscopic experience.
It allows you to live the story not from one single point of view but from different ones. In a way you are inside each of these characters and yet you know what others think... giving you a sort of an upper eye... sort of a god view... if you know what I mean...
This point has been discussed in the novel since a debate between artists arise as how they should represent life... through the eyes of God or through the eyes of humans... and it is an interesting insight to Islamic Art....

All in all... it was a good read... and it is worth saying that the author Orhan Pamuk is a Nobel Prize winner in Literature.

I would say that this novel is a must read for Art students ...

And here is an excerpt from the chapter titled [I am red]...
[[Color is the touch of the eye, music to the deaf, a word out of the darkness. Because I’ve listened to souls whispering – like the susurrus of the wind- from book to book and object to object for tens of thousands of years, allow me to say that my touch resembles the touch of angles. Part of me, the serious half, calls out to your vision while the mirthful half soars through the air with your glances.
I’m so fortunate to be red! I’m fiery. I’m strong. I know men take notice of me and that I cannot be resisted.
I do not conceal myself: for me, delicacy manifests itself neither in weakness nor in subtlety, but through determination and will.]]

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