Book review: My Name is Red

October 15, 2009

Title: My Name is Red
Author: Orhan Pamuk
Pages: 503

My Name is Red is a novel set in the city of Istanbul in the late 16th century. The main characters in the novel are miniaturists (artists) who work in the workshop of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

The story is a murder-mystery involving the mysterious death of Elegant Effendi who is one of the master miniaturists working on a top-secret book commissioned by the Sultan.

The story is related by the characters themselves in a smooth, linear manner. Each chapter is narrated by a particular character and the chapters are named accordingly. For example, the chapters narrated by the murderer are all named “I will be called a murderer”.

What makes this book even more unique is that a coin and the colour red also act as narrators through the tales of a storyteller. You will have to read the book to understand what I mean.

This book was strikingly unique and it gave me a revealing tour of life in ancient Istanbul. Definitely recommended.

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