The Museum of Innocence
|The Museum of Innocence|
2008 İletişim Edition
|Original title||Masumiyet Müzesi|
Published in English
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||592 pp. (original Turkish)|
|ISBN||ISBN 978-975-05-0609-3 (original Turkish)|
The Museum of Innocence (Turkish: Masumiyet Müzesi) is a novel by Orhan Pamuk, Nobel-laureate Turkish novelist published on August 29, 2008. The book is an account of love between a wealthy businessman Kemal and a poorer distant relation Füsun during the period 1975 to 1984 in Istanbul. Kemal’s engagement to a pretty girl Sibel is in two months time when he meets shop girl Füsun while buying a handbag for his fiancee. What follows in next month and a half is an intense and secretive physical and emotional relation between them, portrayed beautifully. Kemal’s happiest moment of life comes while making love the day Füsun confesses her deep love for him. Though it is clear that he has also fallen completely for Füsun, Kemal keeps denying this to himself, believing that his marriage with Sibel and secret relationship could continue forever. His reverie is broken when Füsun disappears just after attending his engagement. Now he has to come to terms with his deep attachment and love for Füsun. He goes through a very painful period for around a year, unable to meet Füsun and deriving consolation from objects and place related to his beloved and their lovemaking. His engagement to Sibel breaks and finally Füsun responds to his letter and agrees to meet him. Füsun has got married, living with her husband and parents and pretends to meet Kemal just as a distant relation, with undercurrents of anger. Next eight years Kemal keeps visiting the family for supper and expressing his love for Füsun in various ways, also finding consolation in various objects related to her which he carries away from the house. Finally after her father’s death, circumstances lead to divorce of Füsun and her husband. Füsun and Kemal are to be married after a trip around Europe together, but fate has something else in store altogether and they get separated for life after a night of intense love making. Kemal regards each object related to Füsun and their love, collected over the years, as portraying some discrete moment of happiness and bliss in the passage of those nine years. He decides to convert the Füsun’s house into a museum of innocence, including all these objects and also other memorabilia related to the period.
In the writing of this book, Pamuk was influenced by the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan, Italy, as he noted in the museum's guestbook on June 27, 2007: “It is the third time that I have visited this extraordinary museum. I love this house, the idea and the imagination that hide behind these walls. They influenced me a lot for the novel I am writing, ''The Museum of Innocence''. I am happy to be here for the third time.”
An actual museum
Pamuk has established an actual "Museum of Innocence", based on the museum described in the book. It is housed in a building in the Çukurcuma neighbourhood of Beyoğlu, Istanbul, and displays a collection evocative of everyday life and culture of Istanbul during the period in which the novel is set. Originally, the museum was scheduled to be exhibited at Frankfurt’s Schirn Kunsthalle in October 2008, during the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, but the exhibition was cancelled. In 2010, Pamuk still hoped that the museum would be opened in 2011. After much delay, the museum was finally inaugurated in April 2012. Although created later, the museum and the novel were conceived of in tandem, displaying the obsessive romance between two Istanbul families, as well as eternalizing a perspective on upper-class Istanbul in the 1970s.  The project was supported by Istanbul 2010 – European Capital of Culture. According to the book, the museum allows free entry to those who bring a copy of the book. A ticket placed in the 83rd chapter of the book will be stamped before ushering the reader in.
- Rich, Motoko (2008-10-16). "Turkish Novelist Denounces Government at Book Fair". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- Relations, The New Yorker, September 7, 2009.
- "Nobel laureate Pamuk's "Museum of Innocence" to be opened in Istanbul". TurkNet. June 2, 2009. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- "International News Digest – Orhan Pamuk cancels "Museum of Innocence"". Artforum. Week of July 7, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- "Room with a view: Pamuk explores İstanbul's double soul". Today's Zaman. September 30, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
- Ayla Jean Yackley (April 29, 2012). "Nobel winner Orhan Pamuk opens novel museum in Istanbul". Al Arabiya News. Reuters. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- "2010 ECOC Support for the Museum of Innocence". Istanbul 2010 – European Capital of Culture. Retrieved July 9, 2010.[dead link]
- Official website (Turkish)
- Review site for The Museum of Innocence
- Interview with Orhan Pamuk, The Museum of Innocence: A Declaration of Love to the City of Istanbul