In our readings for Monday, Pamuk focuses on the collective melancholy of Istanbul which he describes as “huzun”. In chapters 33 and 34 he describes the impact on huzun on himself and the ways in which the city and his social circles direct him to feel his own sense of huzun or melancholy that is reflective of the city around him.
He describes how Istanbul is caught up in an in betweenness of the past and present, the old and the new, the East and the West. Pamuk himself feels similar to this, shifting from different groups of friends with no real solid identity, all the time feeling shameful because he is not remaining true to himself and his identity. He seems to be lost between different spheres of life, only finding temporary comfort when he engrosses himself in one of these spheres.
He clearly finds some sort of comfort or connection with this city and past but at the same time you get the sense that there is also tension between the identity he is born into and the idealized identity that he wishes to have. In many ways his entire analysis of himself at this time and the city of Istanbul are parallels of loss, confusion, melancholy, and a certain bitter sweetness that makes him still feel connected to Istanbul. Combined with this bitter sweetness is a sort of authenticity that Pamuk seems reluctant to let go of.