Kemal is a wealthy heir with handsome prospects; he is educated from America and is now about to be engaged to the beautiful Sibel. All change when his path is crossed with Fusun, a charming 18-year old girl who is also his distant relative. Year is 1975.
Kemal falls head over heals in love and a fruitful affair is started despite their 12-year age difference; she was a virgin. Turkey was on its modernisation (or Europeanisation) process, but virginity was still an issue in marriage.
After his engagement with Sibel, Fusun's parents take her away leaving Kemal with a forlorn heart. He sooths the aching desire by cradling the things of Fusun and breathing her smell in Merhamet apartments where they had made love. Sibel comes to know of everything and tries her best to help him get over this obsession. In the end their engagement is broken off.
The much anticipated moment comes when Fusun gets a divorce due to Feridun's infidelity. Together with Kemal, she plans a European tour and gets engaged on the way. It turns out that she and Feridun had not had any marital relationship. But after the day of engagement, Fusun gets drunk and in her obstinacy takes the wheel from Kemal; the car gets crashed and she dies on the spot itself.
I am a great admirer of Pamuk, but this one though bought with great expectations, disappoints. Firstly, book is too long (728 pages) and there are no such page turning incidents as expected from a large work of fiction.
|Pamuk in the Museum of Innocence|
Perhaps I must not be a judge of Kemal. He has lived his life for what he desired and as his name signified "completeness", he strives for it. It is to be noted that Ataturk, the founder and first President of Republic of Turkey is also named as Mustafa Kemal. I like the last lines and share it here:
"My last words in the book are these, Orhan Bay, please don't forget them..."
"I wont". . .
"Let everyone know, I lived a very happy life."
|The building that will house the museum|