Author Pamuk revels in smell of books, pain of love

Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:53pm EDT
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By Sarah Marsh

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Real love is more like a traffic accident than the saccharine stuff of romantic fiction, Nobel-prize winning author Orhan Pamuk said on Wednesday at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The Turkish writer was at the world's largest book fair to talk about his latest book, "Museum of Innocence," a love story between Kemal, the son of a wealthy Istanbul family, and his poor and distant relative -- the first book he has published since winning the Nobel Prize in 2006.

Clad in a black corduroy suit, blue shirt and thick-rimmed glasses, Pamuk said: "Love has been sweetened in popular culture so much that you have forgotten what love really is, which is why I wanted to answer that question."

"Some of you expect a love story to be sweet and sickly... but when I talk about a love story, it is more like a traffic accident or a serious disease."

The Frankfurt Book Fair, which attracts around 300,000 visitors and runs for a week each year, chose Turkish literature as a central theme this year.

One hundred Turkish publishers are attending the fair, as well as around 300 Turkish literary figures and translators.

Pamuk is one of Turkey's best-known writers and his novels include "Snow," "My Name is Red," and "Istanbul: Memories and the City," which was translated into 58 languages and has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide.

"Snow," in which the main character is shot in Frankfurt, has a particularly big following in Germany, home to about 2.5 million people of Turkish descent.   Continued...

<p>Turkish Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk speaks during the opening ceremony of the Frankfurt book fair, October 14, 2008. The world's largest book fair with its focal theme on Turkish literature will run from October 14 until October 20. REUTERS/Arne Dedert/Pool</p>