Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Museum of Innocence

One of my all-time favourite books is The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk.  Actually, at this stage of my life, it is definitely my most loved. I didn't know what to expect when I bought it but I was smitten from the very first line all the way to the very last one.  It even gave me a hankering for Raki! I think it is a combination of the book's setting in Istanbul (I can even see my street on the map at the beginning of the book), the evocative sights and sounds which he describes ( like the Russian tankers along the Bosphorus) and of course the beautiful story.
So today I decided to visit the actual Museum of Innocence which was created out of the book. You even get free entry if you bring the book which has an entry ticket stamped in it three-quarters of the way through the story.
I had been nervous about going, in case I was disappointed, but today seemed the right day to go so I put on my winter woollies and went off in search of Curkurcuma Street.
I was not disappointed.
From the mysterious side entry and the dignified man who quietly opens the door, to the wall of Füsan's cigarette butts, to the fakeJenny Colon handbag and the countless images of Istanbul, all the way to dear Kemal's bed on the top floor. It was magical. I actually cried when I first saw the wall of cigarettes and spent quite some time trying to decipher what was written under each one. There was even a bottle of Yakut Kavaklidere Red Wine in one of the display cabinets which I found endearing since  if I was ever to build a museum of my life I would probably put such a bottle of red in as well.

What I loved also though (along with the intricacies of the displays) was Pamuk's handwritten manuscript sheets on the very top floor. It inspired me and excited me and makes me want to write again.

I will probably visit the museum again some time but I am glad I went today. It was absolutely the right place for me to be.

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