My Name Is Red- a book written by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk is as different as its name. It is based in Istanbul in the late 1590s.
The Sultan has secretly commissioned his master miniaturists to depict his reign in a great book, but in the European style. Things however, take a gory turn when one of the miniaturists is brutally murdered. In order to solve the mystery, the master has to seek help from outside.
The author becomes various characters through the course of the book which makes it exceptionally intriguing. It depicts a form of narration not seen before. The story offers an insight into the different perceptions of people of the same event.
The book trails the history of the art of illumination in the Muslim world. The book not only has action, murders and mystery, it also has justification of everything that occurs. It captures and captivates the audience by culminating longing, sorrow, joy and a beautiful love affair. It expresses with subtlety the variety of loves felt by humans and its impact on their lives.
As happens with most translations, the reader may sometimes feel that continuity is lost as musings of present matters often mingle with escapes into the history of illumination.
However passing that hurdle turns out to be very rewarding as the book takes us through an educating and emotional journey.
A winner of the International Dublin Literary Award, 2003 this historical novel is a charming and intellectually satisfying narrative.