I’ve just finished Orhan Pamuk’s novel, The Museum of Innocence. No slim volume this…
I’ve been wanting to read it since I went to his exhibition at Somerset House. It was an exhibition of a collection of objects that became a physical manifestation of the novel.
Because this is a novel about the power of objects. And maybe how sometimes we can recreate our world through the objects that remind us of a world we might have been happier in. Objects can freeze time, after all, or transport us back or even forward to another time. Here’s the book of his museum of The Museum of Innocence.
So here is my own museum of my time reading The Museum of Innocence. First of all, and as you’ll see from the first picture, this isn’t a book that lightly fits into a handbag, so here are the views I could see from the different places at home where I read the book:
Here’s the spot I finished the book, and decided to do this blog post.
This is some of the fuel I needed to read the book.
This is the squeaky gate that provided the soundtrack to the last few pages.
I planted these sweet pea seeds at the exact same time I started the book, here they are at the finish.
Here’s a lily I watched fade as I read the book. (I wish I’d taken a picture of its beauty at the start.)
But then again, here is the blossom on the apple trees. There was none when I started.
And here’s all the ironing I haven’t done as I read this book.
But at least I didn’t burn the house down.
And here’s my next book.
I was excited to see the name of the translator of The Museum of Innocence, Maureen Freely, because when I was living in Edinburgh with very small children, another mother pushed a book into my hands saying I had to read it. THIS IS US, she said. And at the time it really was. All those issues about being a mother and a feminist that weren’t being spoken about at all then, and yet here was someone actually talking about what we were going through. We loved Maureen Freely because she allowed us to start discussions for ourselves too, and so it was a pleasure to get her book down from the shelves. Now I’ll read it again and do a bit of time travel back to that time when there were times I just couldn’t see a way forward.
Btw, here’s an interesting piece by Maureen Freely about translating. In it she says this: ‘For me, it makes a welcome change from my old life, when I mainly looked after number one, wasting acres of times fretting about bylines and book sales and column inches.’ I hope by some chance she reads this, and so knows that in her ‘old life’, there were also very definitely people she helped through her words, and that her book is part of my own museum of life.