Monday, January 8, 2007

My Father's Suitcase

Via the BBC, I heard a quite remarkable lecture the other day. The Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature, and opened his Nobel lecture with these words:

“Two years before his death, my father gave me a small suitcase filled with his writings, manuscripts and notebooks. Assuming his usual joking, mocking air, he told me he wanted me to read them after he was gone, by which he meant after he died.”

What followed was a powerful memoir on the inner life, fathers and sons, writing and the role of literature. I was not familiar with Pamuk, but if “My Father’s Suitcase” is indicative of the insight, grace and honesty of this writer, then his novels on life in Istanbul would be worth searching out.

“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. ...The angel of inspiration (who pays regular visits to some and rarely calls on others) favours the hopeful and the confident, and it is when a writer feels most lonely, when he feels most doubtful about his efforts, his dreams, and the value of his writing – when he thinks his story is only his story – it is at such moments that the angel chooses to reveal to him stories, images and dreams that will draw out the world he wishes to build.”

No comments: