Turkey can boast of distinctive, colourful phases of history –it has a Byzantine past, an Ottoman past, and has gone through a more recent modern phase under the reform-minded despot Kemal Attaturk. After the exacting secularist programs of Attaturk the country is now reverting to a brand of pragmatic Islamism. Ohran Pamuk is arguably Turkey’s best-known face (especially after he won the Nobel prize for Literature) and he has riveted the attention of readers world-wide by chronicling diverse and fascinating aspects of Turkey: its art, history, and often turbulent religious politics. In 2008 he wrote the unusual love story, The Museum of Innocence, which blends and meshes romance, tragedy, popular culture, and even politics, making for a heady reading experience. The publication of his book in 2009 on the craft of the novel, The Naïve and Sentimental Novelist (English translation 2010), saw him sharing with the reader a practicing novelist’s rich, rewarding insights. In the coming years of the decade, we are likely to see many more vibrant and influential works from this writer whom the international community holds in great importance because he is such a sensitive cultural ambassador, moving between different worlds with great aplomb. In 2011, I read his works with great interest.
In 2012, again, I would love to read anything that Pamuk writes, as well as something that Haruki Murakami — author of Kafka on the Shore — writes. I am also looking forward to reading Salman Rushdie's memoir, slated to be published by Random House in 2012.