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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 16

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
We continued across the Galata Bridge, the historic epicenter of Istanbul, stopping midway to admire the scene: tourist boats and pleasure craft floated down the Golden Horn, past the mosques of Sultan Ahmet on one side and the steep hills of Cihangir on the other. 

“This was originally a wooden bridge, and when I was growing up you had to pay to cross it,” he said, “but you could also hire row boats. 

I remember my mother taking me across by boat in the 1950s.”


-Joshua Hammer

Monday, April 29, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 15

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
“I had little interest in Byzantium as a child,” Mr. Pamuk wrote in “Istanbul.” 

“I associated the word with spooky, bearded, black-robed Greek Orthodox priests, with the aqueducts that still ran through the city, with Hagia Sophia and the red-brick walls of old churches.” 

Legal disputes have kept this patch of waterfront property, where we were eating lunch, in limbo, resulting in a rare zone of neglect in the heart of the city.

It’s one of Mr. Pamuk’s favorite places. 

“All my childhood was like this, but will it be like this in 20 years? 

No way,” he told me, as we savored the maritime smells.

He is all but certain that the rapid gentrification of surrounding neighborhoods will eventually overtake this forgotten field.


-Joshua Hammer

Sunday, April 28, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 14

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
Across the inlet, in stunning contrast to the scruffy surroundings, rose the silver dome of Hagia Sophia, wreathed in limestone and sandstone minarets. 

Built as a Greek Orthodox basilica and opened in A.D. 537 and converted into a mosque after the 1453 Islamic conquest of Constantinople, it was secularized by Kemal Ataturk, modern Turkey’s founder, and turned into a museum in 1935.

-Joshua Hammer

Saturday, April 27, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 13

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
We stopped for lunch in the shadow of the Galata Bridge, a double-decker concrete-and-steel span, opened in 1994, with walkways, three lanes of traffic in each direction and tram tracks.

Plastic tables and chairs stood haphazardly on a muddy patch near the water, flanked by portable grills selling fish fillets on baguettes, garnished with paprika, chile powder and chopped vegetables. 

A stray dog, his ear tagged as proof of his government-issued rabies shot, lay in the dirt. 

“He’s a local monument,” said Mr. Pamuk, who was bitten by a street dog during an evening walk 13 years ago and had to undergo a painful series of rabies shots.


-Joshua Hammer

Friday, April 26, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 12

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
Tucked off one steep avenue is an alley of government-sanctioned brothels guarded by the police.

The Karakoy area conjures vivid memories for Mr. Pamuk of his childhood. 

He pointed out a row of bicycle shops, where his father bought him his first two-wheeler. 

A bit farther on is a passageway leading to the Tunel, one of the world’s oldest subterranean transit lines. 

The two-stop subway, built by French engineers, began in 1875 and still links Karakoy Square with the embassy district in the central Beyoglu district.

In its early incarnation the train consisted of a steam engine that pulled two wooden cars, with separate compartments for men and women.

“The empire fell apart, and there was no other subway line in Turkey for 120 more years,” said Mr. Pamuk, who loved riding the trains with his parents as a child.

-Joshua Hammer

Thursday, April 25, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 11

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
Mr. Pamuk found the building himself, designed the exhibits and assembled his character’s fictional collection from flea markets and his own family heirlooms. 

Glass cases on the walls in darkened rooms are arranged chapter by chapter, filled with these supposed tokens of his character’s mostly unrequited love: crystal bottles of cologne, porcelain dogs, Istanbul postcards and 4,213 of Fusun’s cigarette butts, each one encased behind its own tiny window.

“I didn’t publish a novel for years, but I have excuses,” Mr. Pamuk told me. “I did a museum in between.”


Karakoy Square, farther down the hill, is a waterfront plaza radiating outward into avenues lined with modern and Ottoman-era office buildings, food bazaars and appliance shops.

Street vendors sell pomegranate juice and simit, the wheel-like bread otherwise known as a Turkish bagel.

-Joshua Hammer

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 10

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
Cihangir is now a trendy neighborhood of artists and writers, elegant cafes, antiquarian shops and sky-high rents.

One engine of Cihangir’s revitalization is Mr. Pamuk’s own creation: the Museum of Innocence, which opened in 2012 in a burgundy building on a steep road leading down to the curving Golden Horn, which connects the Bosporus to the Sea of Marmara. 

The museum is a meticulously rendered time capsule of 1970s Istanbul, and a tribute to the power of obsession.

It was inspired by Mr. Pamuk’s 2008 novel “The Museum of Innocence,” about an affluent Istanbul businessman, Kemal Basmaci, who falls in love with a poor shopgirl, Fusun, and becomes so consumed that he assembles a collection of every trace of contact with her.


-Joshua Hammer

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 9

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
On this cloudy afternoon we followed a zigzag route that roughly paralleled the Bosporus and took us through the heart of Cihangir, once a predominantly Greek neighborhood.

In the 1960s, when Mr. Pamuk was a student at the elite Robert College prep school farther up the Bosporus, rising nationalistic fervor over a looming conflict in Cyprus came to a climax in the government’s eviction of the neighborhood’s Greek population. 

Deprived of its commercial class, Cihangir became the city’s red-light district.

“I wrote an early novel here in the 1970s, in my grandfather’s apartment,” Mr. Pamuk said.

 “Every night, I used to wake up to women and their bodyguards — their macho protectors — and their clients, bargaining, throwing belts out the window.”


-Joshua Hammer


Monday, April 22, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 8

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
In 2005, Mr. Pamuk responded to an interviewer’s question about a crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey by asserting that “a million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in this country and I’m the only one who dares to talk about it.” 

The offhand remark, published in a Swiss newspaper, resulted in death threats, vilification in the Turkish press and charges by an Istanbul public prosecutor of the “public denigration of Turkish identity.” 

Mr. Pamuk was forced to flee the country for nearly a year — his longest time out of Turkey. 

The charges were abandoned in January 2006 amid an international outcry, and the threats have subsided. 

Though Mr. Pamuk sometimes travels with bodyguards, especially during his nocturnal rambles, he now feels relatively safe.


-Joshua Hammer

Sunday, April 21, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 7

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
I had caught up with him during the last stages of polishing his new novel, “A Strangeness in My Mind,” to be published in English in 2015, chronicling the life of an Istanbul street vendor from the 1970s to the present. 

He told me that he was grateful for a break.

“I am an obsessive about my work, but I love it,” he said.

He put on a trench coat and pulled a black baseball cap over his brow, a halfhearted effort to render himself a little less recognizable.


-Joshua Hammer

Saturday, April 20, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 6

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
It seemed appropriate that I was visiting Mr. Pamuk during the off-season, given his focus in books like “Snow” and “Istanbul” on winter, grayness and melancholy.

The air was crisp, the light was muted, and although the sun occasionally burst through the clouds, the city seemed largely drained of color. 

“I have always preferred the winter to the summer in Istanbul,” Mr. Pamuk wrote in “Istanbul.” 

“I love the early evenings when autumn is slipping into winter, when the leafless trees are trembling in the north wind, and people in black coats and jackets are rushing home through the darkening streets.”

From the balcony of his apartment, he looked approvingly at the sun shining weakly through the cloud cover and pronounced it an optimal day for a walk. 

“If this was a hugely sunny day I would be upset,” he said. 

“I like the black and white city as I wrote in ‘Istanbul.’ ”

-Joshua Hammer

Friday, April 19, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 5

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
“I did my first foreign travel in 1959, when I went to Geneva for the summer with my father, and I didn’t leave Istanbul again until 1982,” Mr. Pamuk told me. “I belong to this city.”


Last fall, I emailed Mr. Pamuk and asked him if he would take me on a tour of the neighborhoods that shaped his upbringing and his development as a writer. 

After many visits, I wanted to get beyond the tourist sights and observe the city as he sees it — a place of epic history and deep personal associations. 

Mr. Pamuk readily agreed, and two months later I met him at his apartment in the affluent Cihangir quarter, overlooking the Cihangir Mosque, a 19th-century monolith flanked by minarets, and, beyond it, the Bosporus, the strait that forms the boundary between Europe and Asia.

-Joshua Hammer

Thursday, April 18, 2019

EXPEDIA UPDATE

EXPEDIA FINALLY RIGHTS WRONG
After more than 50 emails and direct message tweets, online shaming and four hours of my doing their job -- Expedia finally gave me the refund I deserved from Day 1.

See my April 14 blog post for full story of my booking trip, provider in Marrakech canceling and promising refund, Expedia not processing refund, Expedia team telling me it’s against provider policy to issue refund and my telling Expedia keeping money without delivering service is felony theft.

Of course, I would be promised an update and didn’t get one. When I took initiative to get an answer, the first one was always a lazy, uncaring repeat of the initial form email saying policy forbade my refund.

I kept saying if policy is to take money and deliver nothing, Expedia is complicit not only in felony theft, but in a pattern of corrupt activity because it’s a blanket policy, not a one-time thing.

Since Expedia did nothing for me, I contacted the provider directly and basically told him this was going to go one of two ways:

 A terrible mistake that he would correct with an immediate refund.

My sharing the truth about his felonious ways with my 200,000 blog readers, Twitter followers, Facebook followers and every consumer rip-off site I could find. I told him I would review him – as a thief – on every site such as TripAdvisor.

Amazingly, he said it all was a mistake and he even sent me a copy of his refund order to Expedia.

For days, Expedia claimed it got no such notice from its vendor in Morocco and that I was out of luck.

Finally, after endlessly harping on them, I got a notice of refund the other day. I also got a nominal online coupon, which I demanded to cover the four hours of time robbed from my life while I did the consumer advocacy work that Expedia should have been doing.

So, short answer, did Expedia finally capitulate and process my refund in about a week – yes.

Long answer, if you would like to work with a billion dollar firm that sends form letters blessing felony theft…if you would like to spend time you don’t have doing someone else’s job…if you would like each email exchange to start with them pretending no exchanges of info were made other than their first illogical response…if would like to be called a fraud (because you pasted in an email from the provider and they would only trust a screen cap of the exact same info)…do business with (buyer beware) Expedia.

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 4

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
For most of the six decades since, Mr. Pamuk has lived in Istanbul, both in Nisantasi and nearby Cihangir, alongside the Bosporus. 

His work is as grounded in the city as Dickens’s was in London and Naguib Mahfouz’s was in Cairo. 

Novels such as “The Museum of Innocence” and “The Black Book” and the autobiographical “Istanbul: Memories and the City” evoke both a magical city and a melancholy one, reeling from the loss of empire, torn by the clash between secularism and political Islam and seduced by the West. 

Most of Mr. Pamuk’s characters are members of the secular elite, whose love affairs, feuds and obsessions play out in the cafes and bedrooms of a few neighborhoods.

-Joshua Hammer


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 3

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
“Nobody else would be here on Saturdays.

I’d be haggling, talking, chatting. I would know every clerk, but it’s all changed now,” he said, referring to the somewhat touristy atmosphere and the disappearance of characters he’d come to know, such as a manuscript seller who doubled as a Sufi preacher. 

These days, he said, “I come only once a year.”


Mr. Pamuk was born about three and a half miles from the market, in the prosperous Nisantasi neighborhood in 1952, the son of a businessman who frittered away much of his fortune through a series of bad investments. 

Mr. Pamuk grew up surrounded by relatives and servants, but quarrels between his mother and father, and the ever-present sense of a family unraveling, cast his youth into uncertainty and periodic sadness.

-Joshua Hammer

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 2

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
In the early 1970s, Mr. Pamuk, then an architecture student and aspiring painter with a love for Western literature, would drive from his home across the Golden Horn to shop for Turkish translations of Thomas Mann, André Gide and other European authors. 

“My father was nice in giving me money, and I would come here on Saturday mornings in his car and fill the trunk with books,” the Nobel Laureate remembered, standing beside a bust of Ybrahim Muteferrika, who printed one of the first books in Turkey — an Arabic-Turkish language dictionary — in 1732.


-Joshua Hammer

Monday, April 15, 2019

IN LOVING RESPECT TO THE PEOPLE OF PARIS

GODSPEED ON THE REBUILDING OF NOTRE DAME





IN A TEARFUL TRIBUTE TO A GREAT MONUMENT

GARGOYLES OF NOTRE DAME









ORHAN PAMUK’S ISTANBUL -- 1

NEW YORK TIMES WORDS/STEVE WRIGHT IMAGES
On a windswept afternoon in mid-December, the writer Orhan Pamuk stood in a leafy square around the corner from Istanbul University, absorbed in a 40-year-old memory. 

He walked past parked motorcycles, sturdy oaks and a stone fountain, browsing through secondhand books in front of cluttered shops occupying the bottom floors of a quadrangle of pale yellow buildings.

Sahaflar Carsisi, Istanbul’s used-book bazaar, has been a magnet for literary types since the Byzantine era.

-Joshua Hammer

Sunday, April 14, 2019

EXPEDIA: PLEASE RIGHT A VERY SERIOUS WRONG

LAZY, INCOMPETENT EXPEDIA CUSTOMER SERVICE STAFF FAILS TO GET ME A DESERVED REFUND WHILE BASICALLY ENDORSING FELONY THEFT OF MY $$


1) Booked tour to Ait Ben Haddou through Expedia

2) Tour provider in Marrakech canceled on me -- excuse was I was only booking, so he didn't want to pay for guide, fuel etc. for one.

3) Expedia customer service staff said they contacted his provider & his policy prevents refunds, so I am out $100+ 

4) Taking my money and not providing a service is theft!

5) I have now invested more than two hours of my time begging Expedia to do the right thing and fight for my refund. I have also threatened the tour provider with exposing his scheme if he does not process the refund.

6) Unless this is resolved, I would very highly recommend NEVER booking through Expedia. They roll over and do not fight at all for the consumer that has made them one of the richest companies in the travel industry.

7) Even if I get my refund, it will be devalued by more than 50% because of the time I've wasted doing Expedia's job.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

HAPPY TO BE A TWO DECADE SHENANDOAH RESIDENT, HONORED TO BE PART OF TEAM WORKING FOR ITS IMPROVEMENT


MIAMI’S SHENANDOAH: A NEIGHBORHOOD AHEAD OF ITS TIME


By the New Tropic Creative Studio:

WHAT IT IS: Shenandoah, a neighborhood just southwest of downtown Miami, is one largest collections of 1920s and 1930s architecture that the city or state hasn’t studied or documented.

Megan McLaughlin moved to the neighborhood 10 years ago because she exhausted of her 90 minute commute to downtown. With two toddlers, she felt like she was missing out on so much time with them. So she and her husband moved to Shenandoah, where they can walk everywhere and catch a bus to downtown.  

McLaughlin and Chris Rupp from the Dade Heritage Trust have partnered to survey the neighborhood and put together a report with the data they collect. With a grant from the state, they’ll create a file for each of the 650 properties in Shenandoah that will include the history of the house, previous owners and residents, and the prominent architectural features.

MOST SURPRISING FACT: According to McLaughlin, Shenandoah is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Miami, a city that’s already very inclusive of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. McLaughlin said that city directories show that the neighborhood was at some point home to Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Russian families. Cuban and other refugee families also settled there in the 1960s.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT: Shenandoah was one of the first suburban developments outside of downtown and has always been ahead of its time, McLaughlin said.
“It was different from Coral Gables and Miami Shores and some of these other maybe more known suburbs because it was diverse from the beginning,” she said. “You had already a mix of duplexes, houses, little apartment buildings, corner stores, all of these things that I think the new urbanism and other planning folk talk about that now as the gold standard of a ‘good urban neighborhood’ but Shenandoah had it 100 years ago.”

HOW TO GET INVOLVED: If you’re interested in volunteering to help conduct the survey or organize the collected data – or organize a similar survey for your own neighborhood – McLaughlin said you can contact Dade Heritage Trust at:



Friday, April 12, 2019

PLUS URBIA DESIGN IS THE REGION'S LEADER IN TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT

PROUD TO BE PART OF THE AWARD-WINNING MIAMI STUDIO THAT IS LEADING THE WAY FOR TOD IN MIAMI, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, HIALEAH AND BEYOND


From this week's Miami Today Newspaper:

A push by the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) and some business owners to get a Tri-Rail station south of Northwest 29th Street got a boost last month when a draft study by PlusUrbia Design pointed to that site’s desirability versus a similar site on Northwest 36th Street.

The study was commissioned by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Tri-Rail’s parent) and the City of Miami’s Planning Department. 


In addition to evaluating station locations across eastern Miami-Dade County, it considered creating transit-oriented development (TOD) around the stations.

https://www.miamitodaynews.com/breaking/study-gives-wynwood-the-edge-for-a-tri-rail-station/

Thursday, April 11, 2019

GRATIFIED TO BE PART OF THE TEAM CONNECTING DOWNTOWN MIAMI TO BAYFRONT PARK LAND

PLUS URBIA DESIGN TEAMING WITH TY LIN FIRM TO REDUCE LANES, INCREASE PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AND ACCESS TO PARK LAND AND WATERFRONT  



From today’s Miami Today newspaper:

The Biscayne Green project, sponsored by Miami’s Downtown Development Authority, may get a nudge this week if, as hoped, the City of Miami receives a letter of concurrency from the State of Florida.

Biscayne Green would close several lanes of traffic and eliminate some parking on Biscayne Boulevard from Southeast First to Northeast Eighth streets and create a grand promenade, as exists in many European capitals.

In addition to connecting the city with Biscayne Bay, the promenade would include sitting areas, green spaces, and “activations” including art exhibits and activities that would invite people out of their cars.

But the Florida Department of Transportation requires a study to determine what will happen to traffic before it will allow the lanes to the closed, said Patrice Gillespie Smith, the authority’s senior manager for planning, design and transportation.

Funding has been set aside for such a study, and a consultant, T Y Lin, has been hired.




Wednesday, April 10, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 33


BY ORHAN PAMUK


A city one has lived in long enough shapes itself into one's own image, acquires the traits of one's personality, the features of one's soul. 

It becomes what Jorge Luis Borges once called "a map of my humiliations and failures" or, as in the case of Pamuk's Istanbul, a map of a man's huzun,\ both of his intimate miseries and betrayals and of his secret victories.
--The Washington Post

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 32


BY ORHAN PAMUK


"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.

--The Washington Post

Monday, April 8, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 31


BY ORHAN PAMUK


Istanbul as shared melancholy, Istanbul as double, Istanbul as black-and-white images of crumbling buildings and phantom minarets, Istanbul as a city of 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 self-portrait, Istanbul as Pamuk himself.

--The Washington Post

Sunday, April 7, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 30


BY ORHAN PAMUK


There is a past tense in Turkish -- it does not exist in English -- that allows the writer to distinguish between hearsay and what he has seen with his own eyes. 

"When we are relating dreams, fairy tales, or past events we could not have witnessed, we use this tense," Pamuk explains.

This is the tense in which his book seems to be written, in a voice on the edge of reality, halfway between what he knows has happened and what he believes imaginatively to be true. 

This voice, this tone, this tense, is perfectly suited to describing melancholy.


--The Washington Post


Saturday, April 6, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 29


BY ORHAN PAMUK

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 inexorably to the book's final, decisive words: "I'm going to be a writer." 

And yet even that foregone conclusion is lent a slightly duplicitous tone, a dreamlike, remembered quality.

--The Washington Post

Friday, April 5, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 28


BY ORHAN PAMUK


Through the descriptions of other writers -- several Turkish masters, various traveling foreigners -- Pamuk parades yet more double-images of the Istanbul he knows.

As seen by the poet Yahya Kemal or the historian and encyclopedist Resat Ekrem Kocu, by Gerard de Nerval or Gustave Flaubert, Pamuk's Istanbul keeps unfolding like a series of Rorschach tests, multiplying its ink-stained ghosts and tempting the reader with potentially infinite interpretations.

--The Washington Post

Thursday, April 4, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 27


BY ORHAN PAMUK


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 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 insinuate their future collapse.

--The Washington Post

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 26


BY ORHAN PAMUK


Pamuk begins his inquiry with an image, a 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 eerie merciless silence."


--The Washington Post

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 25


BY ORHAN PAMUK


Huzun is therefore a sought-after state, and it is the absence, not the presence, of huzun that causes the sufferer distress.

"It is the failure to experience huzun," Pamuk says, "that leads him to feel it." 

According to Pamuk, moreover, huzun is not a singular 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 huzun of an entire city: of Istanbul."

--The Washington Post

Monday, April 1, 2019

ISTANBUL: MEMORIES AND THE CITY -- 24


BY ORHAN PAMUK

According to Orhan Pamuk, the melancholy of Istanbul is huzun, a Turkish word whose Arabic root (it appears five times in the Koran) 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." 

For the Sufis, huzun is the spiritual anguish one feels at not being close enough to God; for Saint John of the Cross, this anguish causes the sufferer to plummet so far down that his soul will, as a result, soar to its divine desire.

--The Washington Post