Quelle surprise, I hear you say.
Well, out of the two novels, I read the first quite easily (Five Bells, beautifully written but there were some jarrings for me within that day depicted on the page) and then Animal People which after the very promising opening couple of pages I struggled with majorly.
And now, I have fallen into the arms of Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence. And like I described to someone else recently it's like falling into a beautifully made bed that has the finest linens, in a gorgeous room. With someone you really want to fuck. But make love is probably the more appropriate term, for there is nothing crass or hurried or fucky about Pamuk. The opening chapter, he is in his beloved's arms in an apartment in a block his mother owns in Istanbul.* She is so beautiful and he is so happy. This chapter lasts less than two pages but it is jammed with the room in which the lovers lie yet not crowded. The writing is not crowded. Then, right at the end the narrator says that within a month he will be formally engaged to another woman, Sibel.
The opening reminded me of another of Pamuk's books - The Black Book - one I was unable to read/finish. It was too dense or something but I will try again one day.
I have just finished Chapter 24 'The Engagement Party' and I don't think I have ever read such a thrilling, fraught, teasing, cleverly written number of pages. Ever. It is amazing and I can't wait for tonight when I climb into my own bed with reasonable linen in a pleasant room with no one to continue reading this book.
* This apartment is like a recurring motif; Pamuk's own mother had an apartment block she owned in Istanbul as well which figured in his memoir of that beautiful city.