(scroll down about 3 posts for the book giveaway!)
So I kind of adore Orhan Pamuk. He’s last year’s Nobel Literature Prize winner and the author of Snow and Museum of Innocence, among other books, none of which I have read. But I’d heard that he gives good talks, and I like listening to authors talk even when I haven’t read them, so I toddled along.
And—I say this with love, Mr. Pamuk—he is an argumentative, crotchety old bastard. Maybe that’s a little harsh. But he obviously didn’t like his interviewer or the questions he was being asked. The man kept asking about how East meets West in Pamuk’s novels, but Pamuk kept being like, “That’s not the point.” But the guy kept talking about it. And Pamuk finally said, “YES. East meets West in Istanbul in my novels, because I write about Istanbul and that is what I see when I look out the window.”
Please note that these quotes are not exact. And speaking of…
During the question-and-answer session a crazy old guy stood up and said (paraphrase): “You’ve been accused of plagiarism in the past. You’ve never responded to this, at least not according to your wikipedia page when I checked it this morning, so do you have any response you want to give now?”
Pamuk (and this is exact): “No I do not. Next question?”
And in a good example of why you should never believe wikipedia, his entry now says this:
A group of writers claim that some parts of Orhan Pamuk’s works are exceedingly influenced by other works that belong to other writers[…] Orhan Pamuk responded to these accusations at the Boston Book Festival saying, “They are not true.”
Dear person who updated the page within the past few hours: THIS IS NOT WHAT HE SAID. Instead, he said what I wrote above, in a way indicating that he thought the question not even worthy of response.
He is absolutely a genius and I loved listening to him talk. I’m going to try to find the lecture series he just did at Harvard, I have heard rumors they’re online.
So overall I was thrilled with the Boston Book Festival.