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The White Castle


From the Nobel Prize winner and the acclaimed author of My Name is Red comes a dazzling work of historical fiction and a treatise on the enigma of identity and the relations between East and West.

From a Turkish writer who has been compared with Borges, Nabokov, and DeLillo, a young Italian scholar in the 17th century sailing from Venice to Naples is taken prisoner and delivered to Constantinople. There he falls into the custody of a scholar known as Hoja—"master"—a man who is his exact double. In the years that follow, the slave instructs his master in Western science and technology, from medicine to pyrotechnics. But Hoja wants to know more: why he and his captive are the persons they are and whether, given knowledge of each other's most intimate secrets, they could actually exchange identities. Set in a world of magnificent scholarship and terrifying savagery, The White Castle is a colorful and intricately patterned triumph of the imagination.

Translated from the Turkish by Victoria Holbrook.

[Orhan Pamuk] has earned the right to comparisons with Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino, both of whom preside over this novel like beneficent angels.... a storyteller with as much gumption and narrative zip as Scheherazade. -- The New York Times Book Review, Jay Parini


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