Snow Read online

  Acclaim for Orhan Pamuk’s


  “Powerful.… Astonishingly timely.… A deft melding of political intrigue and philosophy, romance and noir.… [Snow] is forever confounding our expectations.”


  “A novel of profound relevance to the present moment. [The] debate between the forces of secularism and those of religious fanaticism … is conducted with subtle, painful insight into the human weakness that can underlie both impulses.”

  —The Times (London)

  “A work of art.… Alternating between the snowstorm’s hush and philosophical conversations reminiscent of Dostoevsky’s great novels, Snow proves a … timely and gripping read.”

  —Minneapolis Star Tribune

  “Marvelous … as quiet and transformative as a blizzard and as coldly beautiful.”

  —St. Petersburg Times

  “In Snow, Pamuk uses his powers to show us the critical dilemmas of modern Turkey. How European a country is it? How can it respond to fundamentalist Islam? And how can an artist deal with these issues? … The author’s high artistry and fierce politics take our minds further into the age’s crisis than any commentator could. Orhan Pamuk is the sort of writer for whom the Nobel Prize was invented.”

  —The Daily Telegraph (London)

  “Part political thriller, part farce, Snow is [Pamuk’s] most dazzling fiction yet. One of the top books of the year.”

  —The Village Voice

  “It comes as no surprise that political prescience should be yet another of the many gifts of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk. With Snow, Pamuk gives convincing proof that the solitary artist is a better bellwether than any televised think-tanker.… The work is a melancholy farce full of rabbit-out-of-a-hat plot twists that, despite the locale, looks uncannily like the magic lantern show of misfire, denial and pratfall that appears daily in our newspapers.”

  —Independent on Sunday

  “Pure magic.… Snow is excellent.”

  —San Francisco Chronicle

  “ ‘How much can we ever know about love and pain in another’s heart? How much can we hope to understand those who have suffered deeper anguish, greater deprivation and more crushing disappointments than we ourselves have known?’ Such questions haunt the poet Ka … [in] this novel [that is] as much about love as it is about politics.”

  —The Observer (London)

  “Snow has already been a bestseller in Turkey—given Pamuk’s stature as a novelist and the novel’s content it could hardly fail to be. But what makes it a brilliant novel is its artistry. Pamuk keeps so many balls in the air that you cannot separate the inquiry into the nature of religious belief from the examination of modern Turkey, the investigation of East-West relations, and the nature of art itself.… All this rolled into a gripping political thriller.”

  —The Spectator

  “Brilliant.… Pamuk writes with such grace and deep respect for his conflicted characters that this rich novel passes like a dream, encompassing every aspect of love and belief.”


  Orhan Pamuk


  Orhan Pamuk’s novel My Name Is Red won the 2003 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Istanbul.


  My Name Is Red

  The White Castle

  The New Life

  The Black Book



  Translation copyright © 2004 by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

  All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally published in Turkey as Kar by İletişim, Istanbul, in 2002. Copyright 2002 İletişim Yayincilik A. Ş. This translation originally published in hardcover in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, in 2004.

  Vintage is a registered trademark and Vintage International and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.

  The Library of Congress has cataloged the Knopf edition as follows:

  Pamuk, Orhan [date]

  [Kar, English]

  Snow / Orhan Pamuk ; translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely—1st American ed.

  p. cm.

  I. Freely, Maureen, [date] II. Title

  PL248.P34K36513 2004



  eISBN: 978-0-307-38647-2


  To Rüya

  Our interest’s on the dangerous edge of things.

  The honest thief, the tender murderer,

  The superstitious atheist.

  —Robert Browning, “Bishop Blougram’s Apology”

  Politics in a literary work are a pistol-shot in the middle of a concert, a crude affair though one impossible to ignore. We are about to speak of very ugly matters.

  —Stendhal, The Charterhouse of Parma

  Richard Howard’s translation

  Well, then, eliminate the people, curtail them, force them to be silent. Because the European enlightenment is more important than people.

  —Dostoevsky, notebooks for The Brothers Karamazov

  The Westerner in me was discomposed.

  —Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes



  About the Author

  Other Books by This Author

  Title Page




  1. The Journey to Kars

  2. The Outlying Districts

  3. Poverty and History

  4. Ka Meets Ïpek in the New Life Pastry Shop

  5. The First and Last Conversation Between the Murderer and His Victim

  6. Love, Religion, and Poetry: Muhtar’s Sad Story

  7. At Party Headquarters, Police Headquarters, and Once Again in the Streets

  8. Blue and Rüstem

  9. A Nonbeliever Who Does Not Want to Kill Himself

  10. Snow and Happiness

  11. Ka with Sheikh Efendi

  12. The Sad Story of Necip and Hicran

  13. A Walk Through the Snow with Kadife

  14. The Dinner Conversation Turns to Love, Head Scarves, and Suicide

  15. At the National Theater

  16. Necip Describes His Landscape and Ka Recites His Poem

  17. A Play About a Girl Who Burns Her Head Scarf

  18. A Revolution Onstage

  19. The Night of the Revolution

  20. While Ka Slept and When He Woke the Next Morning

  21. Ka in the Cold Rooms of Terror

  22. Sunay Zaim’s Military and Theatrical Careers

  23. With Sunay at Military Headquarters

  24. The Six-sided Snowflake

  25. Ka with Kadife in the Hotel Room

  26. Blue’s Statement to the West

  27. Ka Urges Turgut Bey to Sign the Statement

  28. Ka with Ïpek in the Hotel Room

  29. In Frankfurt

  30. A Short Spell of Happiness

  31. The Secret Meeting at the Hotel Asia

  32. On Love, Insignificance, and Blue’s Disappearance

  33. The Fear of Being Shot

  34. The Mediator

  35. Ka with Blue in His Cell

  36. Bargaining in Which Life Vies with Theater, and Art with Politics

  37. Preparations for the Play to End All Plays

  38. An Enforced Visit

  39. Ka and Ïpek Meet at the Hotel

  40. The First Half of the Chapter

  41. The Missing Green Notebook

  42. From Ïpek’s P