In his recently published autobiographical book: 'Istanbul: Memories and the City', Orhan Pamuk attempts to present a highly personal attitude to his birthplace where he spent a major part of his life. He seeks traces of Istanbul - as he would like to see it and remember it from his childhood - in texts, images and his own slightly enhanced experiences; in its present-day form the town appears to be nondescript, unworthy of attention and dilapidated. Istanbul is a journey to the past and a non-extant city, which, nonetheless, evokes a specific variety of Pamuk's favourite melancholy. It is a voyage amidst dusty stories by nineteenth-century authors-Orientalists and illustrations showing hills overgrown with cypresses. Finally, it is journey to a lost town -seized and overrun by successive tides of immigrants from the provinces, cultural aliens who, Pamuk seems to suggest, invaded his space, producing a specifically Istanbulian paradoxical feeling of a loss.
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