BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture

Led by James Naughtie, a group of readers talk to acclaimed authors about their best-known novels


Orhan Pamuk

May 2nd, 2010

Episode 290 of 438 episodes

Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's most prominent writer and winner of the Nobel Prize for Fiction, joins James Naughtie and readers to discuss My Name is Red. The novel is a complicated mixture of murder mystery, fairy tale and exploration of the medieval world of the Turkish miniaturist painter. The novel begins - surreally - from the point of view of the murdered man; his body thrown down the bottom of a well, he waits for this death to be discovered. The story is then taken up by a myriad of characters, which include a coin and a horse, as well as the colour Red itself. They recount a chapter at least each - in fact this book has twenty narrators and yet, as James Naughtie and readers testify, it is a page-turner. My Name is Red is the most popular of Pamuk's in the English speaking world, due he says to the whodunnit element, but also to the global appeal of the art. Orhan Pamuk discloses how as a young man he longed to be a painter, and so as a successful writer, it was a natural progression to write about the joys of painting, and to explore how an artist feels as their hands move across the page. His reputation as the funny man of his family is also in evidence. Despite his intellectual credentials, humour is an important tool for him. He says he doesn't like writing a serious book, and if the reader isn't smiling when he reads his work, then he feels guilty. June's Bookclub choice : The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks Producer : Dymphna Flynn.

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