Quotes by Orhan Pamuk

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Life is short, and we should respect every moment of it. more...

A museum should not just be a place for fancy paintings but should be a place where we can communicate our lives through our everyday objects. more...

At the age of 60, I am less experimental and more mature. I want most of all to convey my understanding of life. more...

Being a fiction writer makes you someone who works with irresponsibility. more...

Generally, I get bad reviews in Turkey. more...

I always enjoy impersonating my characters in the first-person singular. more...

I don't judge my characters. more...

I don't like to make strong statements. I want to write strong novels... I keep my deep, radical things for my novels. more...

I have been attacked in Turkey more for my interviews than for my books. Political polemicists and columnists do not read novels there. more...

I think less than people think I do about politics. I care about writing. more...

I write a world where everyone is partly right. more...

Istanbul is a vast place. There are very conservative neighbourhoods, there are places that are upper class, Westernised, consuming Western culture. more...

Language is me, in a way. Really, I feel it. more...

Nothing can be as astounding as life. Except for writing. Yes, of course, except for writing, the sole consolation. more...

The fueling of anti-Turkish sentiment in Europe is resulting in an anti-European, indiscriminate nationalism in Turkey. more...

The writer's secret is not inspiration - for it is never clear where it comes from - it is his stubbornness, his patience. more...

We fall in love more deeply when we're unhappy. more...

When I paint, I definitely live in the present, like someone in a shower whistling or singing. more...

When I was publishing my first books, the previous generation of authors was fading away, so I was welcomed because I was a new author. more...

Authoritarianism, an unrealistic occidental imagination - these issues will never be settled. Turkey will continue to take Europe as a model; it will continue to pursue its search for democracy. more...

Culture is mix. Culture means a mix of things from other sources. And my town, Istanbul, was this kind of mix. Istanbul, in fact, and my work, is a testimony to the fact that East and West combine cultural gracefully, or sometimes in an anarchic way, came together, and that is what we should search for. more...

First, I would find an object which I would think is suitable for my characters and stories, then write about it, and in the end, I ended up with a house full of thousands of objects. more...

For me, Westernization is not about consuming fanciful goods; it's about a system of free speech, democracy, egalitarianism and respect for the people's rights and dignity. more...

From a very young age, I suspected there was more to my world than I could see: somewhere in the streets of Istanbul, in a house resembling ours, there lived another Orhan so much like me he could pass for my twin, even my double. more...

Good fiction is about asserting the beauties of the world, inventing a new, positive thing. Where am I going to get that? And it should be original; it should not be cliched. So the way I looked at history was not to accuse it of failure. more...

I believe in a world where there are no heroes, and I've read and know humanity a lot. There are moments that I admire in a person courage, intellect, hard work. These are the qualities I admire in an intellectual, in a writer, and there are so many people who have these things. more...

I came across humanity in Istanbul, and all I know about life comes from Istanbul, and definitely, I am writing about Istanbul. I also love the city because I live there, it has formed me, and it's me. Of course it is natural. If somebody lived all his life in Delhi, he will write about Delhi. more...

I consider myself Istanbul's storyteller. My subject matter is my town. I consider it my job to explore the hidden patterns of my city's clandestine corners, its shady, mysterious places, the things I love. more...

I don't look at emails, Internet or newspapers before 1 P.M. I wake at 7 A.M., eat fruit, drink tea or coffee, and read what I've achieved, or not achieved, the previous day. Then I take a shower and work on my next sentence until 1 P.M. After I've done emails and so on, I write again from 3 P.M. until 8 P.M.; then I socialise. more...

I don't much care whether rural Anatolians or Istanbul secularists take power. I'm not close to any of them. What I care about is respect for the individual. more...

I get used to my fountain pens and my clothes, and I can never throw them away. I replace them only when I see that they are broken or embarrassing to wear. more...

I had the feeling that focusing on objects and telling a story through them would make my protagonists different from those in Western novels - more real, more quintessentially of Istanbul. more...

I have always thought that the place where you sleep or the place you share with your partner should be separate from the place where you write. The domestic rituals and details somehow kill the imagination. They kill the demon in me. more...

I have the legacy of my father and his nocturnal automatic waking up. But I like those periods. I immediately have a different vision of humanity and my life. more...

I sometimes feel nervous because I give stupid answers to certain pointless questions. It happens in Turkish as much as in English. I speak bad Turkish and utter stupid sentences. more...

I strongly believe that the art of the novel works best when the writer identifies with whoever he or she is writing about. Novels in the end are based on the human capacity, compassion, and I can show more compassion to my characters if I write in a first person singular. more...

I think novelists should be disciplined and self-imposed working hours. I work a lot, but I don't feel that I'm working. I always feel that there is a child in me, healthy, and I'm playing. more...

I wanted to tell a romantic and dark side of Ottoman history that was also slightly political, saying to the previous generation of writers, 'Look, I'm interested in Ottoman things, and I'm not afraid of it, and I'm doing something creative.' more...

I would be pleased if someone would invent a pill to remove my impatience, moodiness, and occasional bursts of anger. But if they did, I wouldn't be able to write my novels or paint. more...

I write because I have an innate need to. I write because I can't do normal work. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can partake of real life only by changing it. more...

I wrote 'My Name is Red' just to remember painting, where the hand does it before the intellect. When I'm captive to it, I'm a happier person. Kierkegaard tells us that a happy person is someone who lives in the present; the unhappy person, someone who lives either in the past or the future. more...

I'm a relatively disciplined writer who composes the whole book before beginning to execute and write it. Of course, you can't hold - you cannot imagine a whole novel before you write it; there are limits to human memory and imagination. Lots of things come to your mind as you write a book, but again, I make a plan, chapter, know the plot. more...

Idealism, unrealistic idealism, is always contrasted with the reality of the people, of the man in the street. The details of daily life are always more convincing than the political fantasies of the earlier generations. more...

If a writer is to tell his own story - tell it slowly, and as if it were a story about other people - if he is to feel the power of the story rise up inside him, if he is to sit down at a table and patiently give himself over to this art - this craft - he must first have been given some hope. more...

If I think back on the books to which I have devoted my entire life, I am most surprised by those moments when I have felt as if the sentences, dreams, and pages that have made me so ecstatically happy have not come from my own imagination - that another power has found them and generously presented them to me. more...

Just as good books give me the joys of being alive, bad novels depress me, and as I notice this sentiment coming from the pages, I stop. I also do not hesitate to walk out of a movie house if the film is bad. more...

Let us say in the pocket of one of my old coats I find a movie ticket from many years ago. Once I see the ticket, not only do I remember that I saw this movie, but also scenes from this movie, which I think I have entirely forgotten, come back to me. Objects have this power, and I like it. more...

Modernity means overabundance. We are living in the age of mass-produced objects, things that come without announcing themselves and end up on our tables, on our walls. We use them - most of us don't even notice them - and then they vanish without fanfare. more...

Museums are western inventions where the rich and the powerful or the government and the state tend to exhibit the signs and symbol and images of their culture. more...

My home is attached to a study - in fact, my home is my study, and I have a little room to sleep in. I need to write looking onto the street or a landscape. Looking at reality from some distance gives me romantic visions. more...

Novels are political because in them, we try to identify with people who are not like us. And, in that sense, I like the first-person singular because I have to imitate accurately the voice of someone who is not like me. The third-person singular gives me an authority over a character. more...

One side of me is very busy paying attention to the details of life, the humanity of people, catching the street voices, the middle-class, upper-middle-class secret lives of Turks. The other side is interested in history and class and gender, trying to get all of society in a very realistic way. more...

Oscar Wilde always makes me smile - with respect and admiration. His short stories prove that it is possible to be both sarcastic, even cynical, but deeply compassionate. Just seeing the cover of one of Wilde's books in a bookshop makes me smile. more...

People look at me as sort of a diplomat for Turkey, which by nature, I'm not; I don't want to be. It's again about that playfulness. Being Turkey's voice or representative is not playful, it's not childlike; it makes me self-conscious, kills the child in me. more...

Self-hatred is OK. I have self-hatred, too. It's OK. What's bad is if you don't know how to get out of it, don't know how to manage it. Self-hatred is, in fact, a good thing if you can clearly see the mechanism of it, because it helps you to understand others. more...

'Snow' is my most popular book in the United States. But in Turkey, it was not as popular as 'My Name is Red,' or even 'The Museum of Innocence,' because the secular leaders didn't want this bourgeois Orhan trying to understand these head-scarf girls. more...

The fictive structure, my work, my imagination, my books are about the details, the huge construction about culture, Islamic culture or modern Turkey. They're all intertwined. more...

The habit of collecting, of attachment to things, is an essential human trait. But Western civilization put collecting on a pedestal by inventing museums. Museums are about representing power. It could be the king's power or, later, people's power. more...

'The Museum of Innocence' is not about politics; it's a love story, but I think it's political in the sense that it wants to capture how a man suppresses a woman. more...

The truly great books are always novels: 'Anna Karenina,' 'The Brothers Karamazov,' 'The Magic Mountain.' Just as with 'Shahnameh,' I browse these books from time to time to remember how a great book works on us or to teach my students at Columbia University. more...

To appropriate an invention, be it artistic or technical, you have to have at least a part of your spirit embracing it so radically that you somehow change. more...

We should not judge Islam by terrorists. All civilizations and cultures produce terrorists. Every time there is a flag-burning, killing, or provocative films, I'm worried, not because something radical will happen, and this time, some people are killed. We're very sorry for that. more...

When I write, I feel that I'm writing with my intellect. When I paint, I think it's some other force making me paint. I - as I wrote in my novel 'My Name is Red' - watch with amazement what my hand is doing on the paper, what kind of line, what kind of strange, beautiful thing it's doing in spite of my will, so to speak. more...

When people read a novel 600 pages long, six months pass, and all they will remember are five pages. They don't remember the text - instead, they remember the sensations the text gives them. more...

When the whole world reads your books, is there any other happiness for a writer? I am happy that my books are read in 57 languages. But I am focused on Istanbul not because of Istanbul but because of humanity. Everyone is the same in the end. more...

I was at the end of my tether when my first book was published. For eight years I didn't make a penny, I worked so hard, didn't drink, didn't enjoy life. more...

I work seven days a week, from 9 in the morning till 8 at night. I have the titles of the next eight novels I want to write. I feel myself pitiable, degraded on a day that I don't write. more...

Turks have a dismissive phrase: he works like a clerk. I have turned this insult around: I am proud to say that I work like a clerk. more...

The silence of snow, thought the man sitting just behind the bus driver. more...

We fall in love more deeply when were unhappy. more...

Oscar Wilde always makes me smile - with respect and admiration. His short stories prove that it is possible to be both sarcastic, even cynical, but deeply compassionate. Just seeing the cover of one of Wildes books in a bookshop makes me smile. more...

The writers secret is not inspiration - for it is never clear where it comes from - it is his stubbornness, his patience. more...

Heroic dreams are the consolation of the unhappy. After all, when people like us say we're being heroic, it usually means we're about to kill each other-or kill ourselves. more...

How different from the cosy world of Ruya's detective novels, where authors never vexed a hero with more signs than he needed. more...

Are you an angel that approaching you should be so terrifying? more...

As soon as I observed myself from outside myself, I recognized and understood that I had a long-standing habit of keeping an eye on myself. That's how I managed to pull myself together, over the years, checking myself from the outside. more...

All great masters, in their work, seek that profound void within color and outside time. more...

The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion . . . open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony. more...

When two people love each other as we do, no one can come between them, no one," I said, amazed at the words I was uttering without preparation. "Lovers like us, because they know that nothing can destroy their love, even on the worst days, even when they are heedlessly hurting each other in the cruelest , most deceitful ways, still carry in their hearts a consolation that never abandons them." (p.191) more...

She looked out the window; in her eyes was the light that you see only in children arriving at a new place, or in young people still open to new influences, still curious about the world because they have not yet been scarred by life. more...

Any intelligent person knows that life is a beautiful thing and that the purpose of life is to be happy," said my father as he watched the three beauties. "But it seems only idiots are ever happy. How can we explain this? more...

In Europe the rich are refined enough to act as if they're not wealthy. That is how civilized people behave. If you ask me, being cultured and civilized is not about everyone being free and equal; it's about everyone being refined enough to act as if they were. Then no one has to feel guilty. more...

?The past is always an invented land. more...

In his brilliant new book Pankaj Mishra reverses the long gaze of the West upon the East, showing modern history as it has been felt by the majority of the world's population from Turkey to China. These are the amazing stories of the grandfathers of today's angry Asians. Excellent! more...

In actuality, we don't look for smiles in pictures of bliss, but rather, for the happiness in life itself. Painters know this, but this is preciously what they cannot depict. That's why they substitute the joy of seeing for the joy of life. more...

We live but for a short time, we see but very little, and we know almost nothing; so, at least, let's do some dreaming. Have yourself a very good Sunday, my dear readers. more...

...a nation could change its way of life, its history, its technology, its art, literature, and culture, but it would never have a real chance to change its gestures. more...

Snow reminds Ka of God! But I'm not sure it would be accurate. What brings me close to God is the silence of snow. more...

To savour Istanbul's back streets, to appreciate the vines and trees that endow its ruins with accidental grace, you must, first and foremost, be a stranger to them. more...

Mankind's greatest error, the biggest deception of the past thousand years is this: to confuse poverty with stupidity. more...

To read a novel is to wonder constantly, even at moments when we lose ourselves most deeply in the book: How much of this is fantasy, and how much is real? more...

Where there is true art and genuine virtuosity the artist can paint an incomparable masterpiece without leaving even a trace of his identity. more...

Yet does illustrating in a new way signify a new way of seeing? more...

Actually, it's the other way round. In a poor country, the only consolation people can have is the one that comes from their beliefs. more...

When we lose people we love, we should never disturb their souls, whether living or dead. Instead. we should find consolation in an object that reminds you of them, something...I don't know...even an earring more...

The entire world was like a palace with countless rooms whose doors opened into one another. We were able to pass from one room to the next only by exercising our memories and imaginations, but most of us, in our laziness, rarely exercised these capacities, and forever remained in the same room. more...

A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words. more...

We had no desire to live in Istanbul, nor in Paris or New York. Let them have their discos and dollars, their skycrapers and supersonics transports. Let them have their radios and their color TV, hey, we have ours, don't we? But we have something they don't have. Heart. We have heart. Look, look how the light of life seeps into my very heart more...

Clocks and calendars do not exist to remind us of the Time we've forgotten but to regulate our relations with others and indeed all of society, and this is how we use them. more...

When you look into the faces of these quiet creatures who don't know how to tell stories-who are mute, who can't make themselves heard, who fade into the woodwork, who only think of the perfect answer after the fact, after they're back at home, who can never think of a story that anyone else will find interesting-is there not more depth and more meaning in them? You can see every letter of every untold story swimming on their faces, and all the signs of silence, dejection, and even defeat. You can even imagine your own face in those faces, can't you? more...

Tell me then, does love make one a fool or do only fools fall in love? more...

What was the difference between love and the agony of waiting? Like love, the agony of waiting began in the muscles and somewhere around the upper belly but soon spread out to the chest, the thighs, and the forehead, to invade the entire body with numbing force. more...

And before long , the msuic , the views rushing past the window , my fathers voice and the narrow cobblestone streets all merged into one , and it seemed to me that while we would never find answers to these fundamental questions , it was good for us to ask them anyway . pg. 284 more...

The urbanized life has lead to the destruction of the legends. more...

The gap between compassion and surrender is love's darkest, deepest region. more...

I need the pain of loneliness to make my imagination work. more...

I realized that the longing for art, like the longing for love, is a malady that blinds us, and makes us forget the things we already know, obscuring reality. more...

Sometimes I would see them not as mementos of the blissful hours but as the tangible precious debris of the storm raging in my soul. more...

...every person has a star, every star has a friend, and for every person carrying a star there is someone else who reflects it, and everyone carries this reflection like a secret confidante in the heart. more...

The gap between compassion and surrender is love's darkest, deepest region. more...

Colour is the touch of the eye, Music to the deaf, A word out of darkness. more...

How much can we ever know about the love and pain in another's heart? How much can we hope to understand those who have suffered deeper anguish, greater deprivation, and more crushing disappointments than we ourselves have known? Even if the world's rich and powerful were to put themselves in the shoes of the rest, how much would they really understand the wretched millions suffering around them? So it is when Orhan the novelist peers into the dark corners of his poet friend's difficult and painful life: How much can he really see? more...

Love is a sacred silence. more...

What is love?" "I don't know." "Love is the name given to the bond Kemal feels with Fusun whenever they travel along highways or sidewalks; visit houses, gardens, or rooms; or whenever he watches her sitting in tea gardens and restaurants, and at dinner tables." "Hmmm ... that's a lovely answer,~ But isn't love what you feel when you can't see me?" "Under those circumstances, it becomes a terrible obsession, an illness. more...

Happiness is holding someone in your arms and knowing you hold the whole world. more...

Listen to me: Life is not about principles; it`s about happiness.` `But if you don`t have any principles, and if you don`t have faith, you can`t be happy at all,` said Kadife. `That`s true. But in a brutal country like ours, where human life is cheap, it`s stupid to destroy yourself for the sake of your beliefs. Beliefs? High ideas? Only people in rich countries can enjoy such luxuries.` `Actually, it`s the other way round. In a poor country, people`s sole consolation comes from their beliefs. more...

Before my birth there was infinite time, and after my death, inexhaustible time. I never thought of it before: I'd been living luminously between two eternities of darkness. more...

Life can't be all that bad,' i'd think from time to time. 'Whatever happens, i can always take a long walk along the Bosphorus. more...

...the endless repetition of an ordinary miracle. more...

Immersing oneself in the problems of a book is a good way to keep from thinking of love. more...

Life is beautiful if you are on the road to somewhere more...

Let everyone know, I lived a very happy life. more...

Suddenly Ka realized he was in love with Ipek. And realizing that this love would determine the rest of his life, he was filled with dread. more...

Ka thought it strangely depressing that the suicide girls had had to struggle to find a private moment to kill themselves. Even after swallowing their pills, even as they lay quietly dying, they"d had to share their rooms with others. more...

The gap between compassion and surrender is love's darkest, deepest region. more...

A writer in someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is. more...

For if a lover's face survives emblazoned on your heart, the world is still your home. more...

A letter doesn't communicate by words alone. A letter, just like a book, can be read by smelling it, touching it and fondling it. Thereby, intelligent folk will say, 'Go on then, read what the letter tells you!' whereas the dull-witted will say, 'Go on then, read what he's written! more...

Sometimes I sensed that the books I read in rapid succession had set up some sort of murmur among themselves, transforming my head into an orchestra pit where different musical instruments sounded out, and I would realize that I could endure this life because of these musicales going on in my head. more...

The first thing I learned at school was that some people are idiots; the second thing I learned was that some are even worse. more...

I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well. more...

For the traveler we see leaning on his neighbor is an honest and well-meaning man and full of melancholy, like those Chekhov characters so laden with virtues that they never know success in life. more...

I don't want to be a tree; I want to be its meaning. more...

Suddenly Ka realized he was in love with ?pek. And realizing that this love would determine the rest of his life, he was filled with dread. more...

Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight. more...

There are two kind of men,' said Ka, in a didatic voice. 'The first kind does not fall in love until he's seen how the girls eats a sandwich, how she combs her hair, what sort of nonsense she cares about, why she's angry at her father, and what sort of stories people tell about her. The second type of man - and I am in this category - can fall in love with a woman only if he knows next to nothing about her. more...

I think a lot about the poems I wasn't able to write...I masturbrated...Solitude is essentially a matter of pride; you bury yourself in your own scent. The issue is the same for all real poets. If you've been happy for too long, you become banal. By the same token, if you've been unhappy for a long time, you lose your poetic power...Happiness and poverty can only coexist for the briefest time. Afterword either happiness coarsens the poet or the poem is so true it destroys his happiness. more...

What is the thing you want most from me? What can I do to make you love me?' Be yourself,' said Ipek. more...

Books, which we mistake for consolation, only add depth to our sorrow. more...

Let me first state forthright that contrary to what we've often read in books and heard from preachers, when you are a woman, you don't feel like the Devil. more...

Painting taught literature to describe. more...

Novels are political not because writers carry party cards - some do, I do not - but because good fiction is about identifying with and understanding people who are not necessarily like us. By nature all good novels are political because identifying with the other is political. At the heart of the 'art of the novel' lies the human capacity to see the world through others' eyes. Compassion is the greatest strength of the novelist. more...

Most of the time it's not the Europeans who belittle us. What happens when we look at them is that we belittle ourselves. When we undertake the pilgrimage, it's not just to escape the tyranny at home but also to reach to the depths of our souls. The day arrives when the guilty must return to save those who could not find the courage to leave. more...

I read a book one day and my whole life was changed. more...

It was in Cihangir that i first learned Istanbul was not an anonymous multitude of walled-in lives - a jungle of apartments where no one knew who was dead or who was celebrating what - but an archipelago of neighbourhoods in which everyone knew each other. more...

I think perhaps it is a generational thing. I talk to younger people and they say, Where is this melancholy city you talk about My Istanbul is a sunny place. more...

The snow reminded me of the beauty and mystery of creation, of the essential joy that is life. more...

Happiness is laughing together... more...

Huzun does not just paralyze the inhabitants of Instanbul, it also gives them poetic license to be paralyzed. more...

If the Americans would only take all the money they have spent on this war (Iraq), and spend it like Soros has done on civil societies in these countries, then in 10 years they would have wonderful results. more...

In the mornings I used to say goodbye to my wife like someone going to work. I'd leave the house, walk around a few blocks, and come back like a person arriving at the office. more...

Nothing changed in my life since I work all the time," Pamuk said then. "I've spent 30 years writing fiction. For the first 10 years I worried about money and no one asked me how much money I made. The second decade I spent money and no one was asking me about that. And I've spent the last 10 years with everyone expecting to hear how I spend the money, which I will not do. more...

When you love a city and have explored it frequently on foot, your body, not to mention your soul, gets to know the streets so well after a number of years that in a fit of melancholy, perhaps stirred by a light snow falling ever so sorrowfully, you'll discover your legs carrying you of their own accord toward one of your favourite promontories more...

Real museums are places where Time is transformed into Space. more...

As always after drinking too much, I felt like my own ghost trying to take it's first solo walk outside the body. more...

Now everyone is prouder and poorer more...

Ka thought it strangely depressing that the suicide girls had had to struggle to find a private moment to kill themselves. Even after swallowing their pills, even as they lay quietly dying, they'd had to share their rooms with others. more...

In poetically well built museums, formed from the heart's compulsions, we are consoled not by finding in them old objects that we love, but by losing all sense of Time. more...

After all, isn't the purpose of the novel, or of a museum, for that matter, to relate our memories with such sincerity as to transform individual happiness into a happiness all can share? more...

Age had not made him less handsome, as is so often the case; it had simply made him less visible. more...

Whatever anybody says, the most important thing in life is to be happy. more...

After all, a woman who doesn't love cats is never going to be make a man happy. more...

With the death of my father, it wasn't just the objects of everyday life that had changed; even the most ordinary street scenes had become irreplaceable mementos of a lost world whose every detail figured in the meaning of the whole. more...

The knowledge that she could learn to love a man had always meant more to her than loving him effortlessly, more even than falling in love, and that was why she now felt that she was on the threshold of a new life, a happiness bound to endure for a very long time. more...

Time had not faded my memories (as I had prayed to God it might), nor had it healed my wounds as it is said always to do. I began each day with the hope that the next day would be better, my recollections a little less pointed, but I would awake to the same pain, as if a black lamp were burning eternally inside me, radiating darkness. more...

Heaven was the place where you kept alive the dreams of your memories. more...

If we give what we treasure most to a Being we love with all our hearts, if we can do that without expecting anything in return, then the world becomes a beautiful place. more...

People only tell lies when there is something they are terribly frightened of losing. more...

Over time, I have come to see the work of literature less as narrating the world than "seeing the world with words." From the moment he begins to use words like colors in a painting, a writer can begin to see how wondrous and surprising the world is, and he breaks the bones of language to find his own voice. For this he needs paper, a pen, and the optimism of a child looking at the world for the first time. more...

[N]othing is as surprising as life. Except for writing. Except for writing. Yes, of course, except for writing, the only consolation. more...

The thing that binds us together is that we have both lowered our expectations of life more...

It's such a shame that we know so little about our own country, that we can't find it in our hearts to love our own kind. Instead we admire those who show our country disrespect and betray its people. more...

The real question is how much suffering we've caused our womenfolk by turning headscarves into symbols - and using women as pawns in a political game. more...

There's a lot of pride involved in my refusal to believe in god. more...

Ka knew very well that life was a meaningless string of random incidents more...

As much as I live I shall not imitate them or hate myself for being different to them more...

We're not stupid! We're just poor! And we have a right to insist on this distinction more...

Ka found it very soothing: for the first time in years, he felt part of a family. In spite of the trials and responsibilities of what was called 'family', he saw now the joys of its unyielding togetherness, and was sorry not to have known more of it in his life. more...

In a brutal country like ours, where human life is 'cheap', it's stupid to destroy yourself for the sake of your beliefs. Beliefs? High ideas? Only people in rich countries can enjoy such luxuries. more...

Try to discover who I am from my choice of words and colors, as attentive people like yourselves might examine footprints to catch a thief. more...

How much can we ever know about the love and pain in another heart? How much can we hope to understand those who have suffered deeper anguish, greater deprivation, and more crushing disappointments than we ourselves have known? more...

It may not happen in the first instant, but within ten minutes of meeting a man, a woman has a clear idea of who he is, or at least who he might be for her, and her heart of hearts has already told her whether or not she's going to fall in love with him. more...

My unhappiness protects me from life. more...

Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen. more...

What was venerated as style was nothing more than an imperfection or flaw that revealed the guilty hand. more...

The drinking of coffee is an absolute sin! Our Glorious Prophet did not partake of coffee because he knew it dulled the intellect, caused ulcers, hernia and sterility; he understood that coffee was nothing but the Devil's ruse. more...

The sight of snow made her think how beautiful and short life is and how, in spite of all their enmities, people have so very much in common; measured against eternity and the greatness of creation, the world in which they lived was narrow. That's why snow drew people together. It was as if snow cast a veil over hatreds, greed, and wrath and made everyone feel close to one another. - Snow pg 119 more...

The challenge is to lend conviction even to the voices which advocate views I find personally abhorrent, whether they are political Islamists or officers justifying a coup. more...

I see Turkey's future as being in Europe, as one of many prosperous, tolerant, democratic countries. more...

My hero wants to belong too, but he doesn't want to give up all the things he came to value in the west. more...

I want to describe the psychological state of the people in a certain city. more...

I really don't want to portray the Islamists as simply evil, the way it's often done in the west. more...

At first my publisher had reservations about publishing it in the form you are familiar with. more...

The secularists in Turkey haven't underestimated religion, they just made the mistake of believing they could control it with the power of the army alone. more...

There's been quite a clear upswing in nationalist sentiments. Everyone is talking about it, in Turkey as well. more...

Well, on the one hand the Turks have the legitimate need to defend their national dignity - and this includes being recognized as a part of the west and Europe. more...

The hero of the book does long to experience God. But his conception of God is very western. more...

The opponents of this process have always tried to vilify westernization as a poor imitation. more...

These political movements flourish on the margins of Turkish society because of poverty and because of the people's feeling that they are not being represented. more...

Snow reminds Ka of God! But I'm not sure it would be accurate. What brings me close to God is the silence of snow. more...

When another writer in another house is not free, no writer is free. more...

I do' like to make strong statements. I want to write strong novels ... I keep my deep radical things for my novels. more...

Of course in Turkey I'm seen as being on the 'Western' side, criticised by the nationalists, criticised by the communitarians as not belonging. Even, sometimes, criticised for looking at my country through Western eyes. And in the Western media I'm portrayed as belonging to the East. more...

I don't like to make strong statements. I want to write strong novels ... I keep my deep radical things for my novels. more...

The image that I remember most of all is of the Fenerbahce players storming into the stadium before kickoff. They were called the canaries because of their yellow jerseys. It was as if they, like canaries, were fluttering into the stadium out of a hole. I loved it. It was poetry. more...

In fact, my entire childhood consisted of looking at photographs in which the viewer sees the ball behind the line, looking through the goal net, and the poor goalkeeper in front of the net. more...

I believe that it isn't victories but defeats that promote nationalism. more...

Nationalism stems from catastrophes, whether they are caused by earthquakes or lost wars. more...

Turkish football serves the cause of nationalism, but not of the nation. more...

Football can teach us that although a team's individual players may be weak, it can still be successful if it uses common sense. Or that we should not attack anyone physically when we suffer a depressing defeat. more...

My childhood proved to me that there could be no enjoyment of football without community. But it becomes difficult when this community is having problems with its identity. That's when we experience all possible forms of nationalist exaggeration. more...

Enjoyment of football is part of the social context, and I have lost my faith in this social context. more...

Morality is probably the last thing one can learn from football. more...

I have hired a bodyguard, on the recommendation of my friends and the government. It's outrageous, having to live like this. more...

Istanbul is certainly in the process of transforming itself into an attractive cultural, tourist and financial center. But there are also millions of sad stories in this giant sea of immigration, poverty, misery and contradictions. So much anger, frustration and fury. more...

I think it's horrible that we Turks are always seen under the aspect of Islam first. I am constantly asked about religion, and almost always with a negative undercurrent that makes me furious. more...

National consciousness is truly a miraculous thing. When I am not in Turkey I feel even more Turkish than in Istanbul. But when I'm home my European side becomes more apparent. more...

My decision to view the world through novels, as it were, which is a typically European way of looking at things, became a heavy burden for me. But I took it on consciously, even though it was torture for me. more...

I certainly see myself more as a craftsman than as an artist. more...

True literature is more than just a story someone has told. It must provide the reader with the essence of the world on a moral, philosophical and emotional level. more...

Without patience and the skill of a craftsman, even the greatest talent is wasted. more...

I am a highly disciplined person. I get up at seven every morning and, still in my pajamas, sit down at my desk where my checkered ring binders and my fountain pen are ready for use. I try to write two pages every day. more...

I don't read newspapers in the morning. I take a look at the dailies in the afternoon, but only when I've finished my work for the day. Reading about what is happening in Turkey once again would only be demoralizing for me. more...

No one drives me into exile, not even the nationalists. more...

It's very gratifying to me to see my works bringing people closer to my country. more...

It is not my intention to explain Turkey, its culture and its problems. My literature has a universal concern: I want to bring people and their emotions closer to my readers, not explain Turkish politics. more...

I believe strongly in an author's moral responsibility. But his first obligation is to write good books. more...

Censorship should never be allowed. One should be able to say anything. But I refuse to let politics be foisted on me. more...

It's a great relief for me that no one will ask me anymore: "Orhan, when will you get the Nobel Prize?" more...

East and West are coming together. Whether in peace or anarchy - they are coming together. There needn't be a clash between East and West, between Islam and Europe. more...

More than anything I am a novelist. But for me, an author's job is not only to create linguistically accomplished works. As an author I also want to stimulate discussion. more...

I sometimes joke that I am the first writer of historical fiction who can look out his window and point to the objects in his novels. I have a view of the entrance to the Bosporus, the old city, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque. more...

The bloody years of war and all the atrocities in European history have taught the Europeans that secular politics free of religious hatred is mainly a question of peace. This concept is not anchored in the same way in the consciousness of Turks, which has to do with the fact that the secular was forced upon us by the army. more...

My religion is complicated. Literature is my true religion. After all, I come from a completely non-religious family. more...

I consider myself a person who comes from a Muslim culture. In any case, I would not say that I'm an atheist. So I'm a Muslim who associates historical and cultural identification with this religion. more...

I do not believe in a personal connection to God; that's where it gets transcendental. more...

I identify with my culture, but I am happy to be living on a tolerant, intellectual island where I can deal with Dostoyevsky and Sartre, both great influences for me. more...

I very much enjoy reading other writers' diaries, mainly because it makes me ask myself: Are they like you? How do they think? more...

Writing my own diary is the best form of remembrance, but only for my own use. I need these notes; it's like an impulse. more...

I need a moment of time for myself every day, like a child playing with his things. When I travel, I routinely find a quiet place, open my diary and write something in it. more...

My diary has its own kind of magic. It gives me the feeling of having accomplished something. On days when I don't have time for this, I feel tortured. more...

Many great authors of the 19th century wrote under conditions of strict censorship. The great thing about the art of writing a novel, is that you can write about anything. All you have to say is that it's fiction. more...

When Turkey began approaching the EU, I wasn't the only one who worried that the dark stain in Turkey's history - or rather the history of the Ottoman Empire - could become a problem one day. In other words, what happened to the Armenians in World War I. That's why I couldn't leave the issue untouched. more...

When something explosive is kept hidden away, a tension builds within that must ultimately be released. more...

Great changes in the direction of peace have often come from people who were no great advocates of peace to begin with. more...

Turkey, with its political intolerance, as I have described it, is prepared to march forward, to break with its taboo about the Armenians, and is making great strides with respect to human rights and freedom of speech so that it can join the European Union. This alone shows how powerful the European idea is. more...

If Turkey become a member of the EU, of course Turks would lose a part of this identity, just as Europe would lose a part of its own. It would also be a different Europe then. Accepting Turkey into the EU is an ambitious political endeavor of historical proportions. Europe would become a strong, multi-religious unit. more...

I am proud to be a Turk, and to write in Turkish about Turkey - and to have been translated into about 40 languages. But I don't want to politicize things by dramatizing them. more...

The past is always an invented land. more...

What is love?" "I do' know." "Love is the name given to the bond Kemal feels with Fusun whenever they travel along highways or sidewalks; visit houses, gardens, or rooms; or whenever he watches her sitting in tea gardens and restaurants, and at dinner tables." "Hmmm ... that's a lovely answer,~ But is' love what you feel when you ca' see me?" "Under those circumstances, it becomes a terrible obsession, an illness. more...


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