Discussion Questions: My Name is Red
For the next two weeks we will be looking at one of our contenders for the title of “contemporary classic”: Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red.
Just a couple of reminders: firstly, these questions are just a starting off point for discussion next week with any and all other related topics being most welcome. Secondly, anyone who does participate will be automatically entered in a drawing to win a beautiful Penguin Clothbound Classic or a limited edition World Book Night book (winner’s choice!).
And on to the questions!
1. The biggest debate at the heart of the book is the struggle between East and West. What do you make of the fact that the author (Eastern) chose to play out this conflict in the form of a mystery novel (Western)?
2. Why does Pamuk focus on the importance of beauty, both in illustration and in real life (notably personified by Shekure)? If beauty is both subjective and visual as well as fleeting, why is it treated as something eternal by the characters? What do they aspire to create?
3. What other texts does My Name is Red remind you of? Are these references purposeful on the part of Pamuk?
As always, I’d also love to know about your favorite and least favorite parts and characters. And what do you think? Is this Nobel-prize-winning book a contemporary classic?
See you next week!