伊斯坦布尔：一座城市的记忆 1)Istanbul: Memories and the City
Book Review 书评
All happy cities resemble one another, to paraphrase what 2)Tolstoy famously observed of families, but each 3)melancholy city is melancholy in its own way. According to 4)Orhan Pamuk, the melancholy of Istanbul is hüzün, a Turkish word whose Arabic root denotes a feeling of deep spiritual loss but also a hopeful way of looking at life, “a state of mind that is ultimately as life-affirming as it is negating.” According to Pamuk, hüzün is not a 5)singular 6)preoccupation but a communal emotion, not the melancholy of an individual but the black mood shared by millions. “What I am trying to explain,” he writes in this delightful, profound, marvelously original book, “is the hüzün of an entire city: of Istanbul.”
Pamuk begins his inquiry with an image, a 7)kitschy portrait of a child brought back from Europe that was hung in the house of his aunt. “Look! That’s you!” the aunt would say to the 5-year-old boy, pointing at the picture. For Pamuk, the painted child (who resembled him slightly and wore the same cap he sometimes wore) became his double, another Orhan, leading a parallel life in another house in the same city; another self, whom he would meet in his dreams with shrieks of horror, or with whom he’d bravely lock eyes, each boy trying to stare the other down “in 8)eerie merciless silence.”
As with himself and the picture of his “other,” Pamuk suggests, Istanbul is haunted by another Istanbul, a shadowy presence in the shadows. He sees the city in black and white, mirrored in the ancient 9)engravings and old photographs that illustrate the book—a city in which ruined buildings conjure up the ghosts of their former selves and stately monuments 10)insinuate their future collapse.
Pamuk tells the story of the city through the eyes of memory, warning the reader at every step that, “these are the words of a fifty-year-old writer, who is trying to shape the chaotic thoughts of a long-ago adolescent.” His accounts of his parents’ difficult relationship, his eccentric grandmother, his embattled friendship with his brother, his sexual awakening and his first self-guided explorations as an artist lead 11)inexorably to the book’s final, decisive words: “I’m going to be a writer.”
Istanbul as a shared melancholy; Istanbul as a double; Istanbul as black-and-white images of crumbling buildings and phantom 12)minarets; Istanbul as a city of 13)maze-like streets, seen from high windows and balconies; Istanbul as an invention of foreigners; Istanbul as a place of first loves and last rites. In the end, all these attempts at definition become Istanbul as a self-portrait, Istanbul as Pamuk himself. “Here we come to the heart of the matter,” he says early in the book. “I’ve never left Istanbul, never left the houses, streets, and neighborhoods of my childhood.” Such a city becomes the inhabitant’s in more senses than one. “To Be Unhappy Is to Hate Oneself and One’s City” is the title Pamuk gives the 34th chapter. The reader must therefore deduce that he is not an unhappy man, because Istanbul is a book by a man in love.
Extract from the book 本书节选：
14)Conrad, 15)Nabokov, 16)Naipaul—these are writers known for having managed to migrate between languages, cultures, countries, continents, even civilizations. Their imaginations were fed by exile, nourishment drawn not through roots, but through rootlessness. My imagination, however, requires that I stay in the same city, on the same street, in the same house, gazing at the same view. Istanbul’s fate is my fate. I am attached to this city, because it has made me who I am.
17)Gustave Flaubert, who visited Istanbul 102 years before my birth, was struck by the variety of life in its teeming streets; in one of his letters he predicted that in a century’s time it would be the capital of the world. The reverse came true: After the 18)Ottoman Empire collapsed, the world almost forgot that Istanbul existed. The city into which I was born was poorer, shabbier, and more isolated than it had ever been before in its two-thousand-year history. For me it has always been a city of ruins and of end-of-empire melancholy. I’ve spent my life either battling with this melancholy or (like all Istanbullus) making it my own.
At least once in a lifetime, self-reflection leads us to examine the circumstances of our birth. Why were we born in this particular corner of the world, on this particular date? These families into which we were born, these countries and cities to which the lottery of life has assigned us—they expect love from us, and in the end we do love them from the bottom of our hearts; but did we perhaps deserve better? I sometimes think myself unlucky to have been born in an aging and impoverished city, buried under the ashes of a ruined empire. But a voice inside me always insists this was really a piece of luck. If it is a matter of wealth, I can certainly count myself fortunate to have been born into an affluent family, at a time when the city was at its lowest 19)ebb (though some have 20)ably argued the contrary). Mostly, I am disinclined to complain; I’ve accepted the city into which I was born in the same way that I’ve accepted my body (much as I would have preferred to be more handsome and better built) and my gender (even though I still ask myself, naïvely, whether I might have been better off had I been born a woman). This is my fate, and there’s no sense arguing with it. This book is concerned with fate.
奥尔罕·帕慕克（Orhan Pamuk）（1952－ ），当代欧洲最核心的三位文学家之一，是享誉国际的土耳其文坛巨擘。他出生于伊斯坦布尔，曾在伊斯坦布尔科技大学主修建筑。其作品《伊斯坦布尔：一座城市的记忆》于2005年荣获德国书业和平奖，帕慕克还因此书获得当年的诺贝尔文学奖提名。他的另一部作品《我的名字叫红》获得了包括法国文学奖、意大利格林扎纳·卡佛文学奖和都柏林文学奖在内的欧洲三大文学奖项。2006年帕慕克被授予诺贝尔文学奖，其获奖理由是：“在追求他故乡忧郁的灵魂时，发现了文明之间冲突和交错的新象征。”