The Museum of Innocence

Added October 15, 2016
  • The Museum of Innocence
  • Orhan Pamuk
  • Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2009

the-museum-of_-innocence-front_-cover_ This beautiful novel by Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk uses the story of a rich Turkish man’s selfish love of a shop girl as a metaphor for the struggles of a Westernizing society that clings to its traditional view of women as chattel. In the main character’s obsession, he collects a museum full of artifacts of his love.

A novel for collectors about the psychology of collecting!

According to Wikipedia, Pamuk has opened a real Museum of Innocence, featuring Turkish everyday items from the era of the novel — specifically, 1975 to 2005.

Pamuk holds many honors and doctorates and has won many awards, including the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature. the-museum-of_-innocence-signature

Also in 2006, Time Magazine listed Pamuk as one of the ’100 people who shape our world’ for having had the courage to speak out against the mass killings of the Armenians and the Kurds in Turkey during the Ottoman Empire (1299 to 1923) — comments for which he subsequently faced more than 20 criminal charges. The charges were eventually dropped.

I have two signed copies of this 600 page novel. The first one arrived slightly damaged, packed for international shipping in just a plain paper envelope with no padding. I bought that copy on eBay from someone who does not normally sell books. To be honest, I should have, but didn’t, tell them how I wanted it packed. They were nice though. They told me to keep that copy (return internationally shipping from Canada is prohibitively expensive) and they sent me this copy.

the-museum-of_-innocence-copy_ So, this is a true first English language edition in fine/fine condition. It is prominently signed, as you can see, and I even have a photograph of Pamuk at the signing event. The other copy is in very good/near fine condition, with bumped extremities on both the book and (less so) on the dust jacket. The former is worth about $150 to $275 today on-line. The latter, $45 to $100.

If an author really stands the test of time, however, and Pamuk most certainly will, then the condition of their signed books makes less difference in the long run. If you look at Hemingway or Salinger right now, for instance, it is the signature itself which holds most of the value. Even a receipt signed by J.D. Salinger fetches thousands of dollars in today’s market.

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