Monday, October 15, 2012

In the country

I'm reading Orhan Pamuk's early novel Silent House, just recently translated into English. One of the characters is a 90-year-old woman, the grandmother of most of the others. She's reminiscing about the early days of her marriage as a child bride - the novel is set in August, a month before the 1980 coup - when her husband was told to quit politics and leave Istanbul. He says he's thinking about Paris, then changes his mind and says they should go to Salonica, or Damascus, or like Dr. Reza to Alexandria ... after all, he asks, "why should we leave the country?"

Wow. How much things change. Before WWI (which this was) they could have gone all the way to Sarajevo or Basra or Tripoli and not left the country...

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