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Summary

In The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's Nobel Prize winner, explores the art of writing and guides us through the worlds of the reader and the writer, revealing their intimate connections.

What happens within us when we read a novel? And how does a novel create its unique effects, so distinct from those of a painting, a film or a poem? In this inspired, thoughtful, deeply personal book, Orhan Pamuk takes us into the worlds of the writer and the reader, revealing their intimate connections.

Pamuk draws on Friedrich Schiller's famous distinction between 'naive' poets - who write spontaneously, serenely, unselfconsciously - and 'sentimental' poets: those who are reflective, emotional, questioning, and alive to the artifice of the written word. Harking back to the beloved novels of his youth and ranging through the work of such writers as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Stendhal, Flaubert, Proust, Mann, and Naipaul, he explores the oscillation between the naive and the reflective and the search for an equilibrium, that lie at the center of the novelist's craft.

He ponders the novel's visual and sensual power - its ability to conjure landscapes so vivid they can make the here and now fade away. In the course of this exploration, he considers the elements of character, plot, time, and setting that compose the 'sweet illusion' of the fictional world. Anyone who has known the pleasure of becoming immersed in a novel will enjoy and learn from this perceptive book by one of the modern masters of the art.

Orhan Pamuk, is the author of many celebrated books, including The White Castle, Istanbul and Snow. In 2003 he won the International IMPAC Award for My Name Is Red, and in 2006 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His most recent novel, The Museum of Innocence, was an international best seller, praised in the Guardian as 'an enthralling, immensely enjoyable piece of storytelling'. Orhan Pamuk lives in Istanbul.

©2010 Orhan Pamuk (P)2018 Penguin Random House LLC

Critic reviews

"Fascinating.... Every novelist will want to read this, and will learn from a master." ( Daily Telegraph)
"A full-fledged theory of the novel.... His explorations of time and plot, words and objects, and the convolutions of the reader's mind as he seeks the center of the novel are incomparable." ( Huffington Post)
"Pamuk's nonfiction voice matches the narrating voices of his novels - grave, throughtful, wry." ( San Francisco Chronicle)

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