Some love stories are like wine which have a pleasant after taste,some others are chilled beer which soothes your soul and some are like a cheap booze which just reeks of mediocrity.The Museum of Innocence falls in the third category.The plot was weak to begin with and it became worse as the story progressed.
The protagonist,Kemal Bey is a lazy spineless son of a wealthy father whose only obsession in life is to sleep with this girl,Fusun,who by the way is his cousin.His idea of an ideal life consists of 3 things-
1-Making love to Fusun
2-Having dinners with his finance,Sibel.(And also sleeping with her)
3-Drinking raki(anise flavoured alcoholic drink).
Now let us come to the female lead ,Fusun who I honestly feel suffers from split personality disorder.Her thoughts and actions never seem to match.Then there are her parents who encourage their daughter’s ex lover to try and woo her in front of her husband.Understanding such dysfunctional characters is beyond my intellectual capacity.The first 250 pages are about Fusun’s body-her hair,her breasts,her neck.The next 250 pages are about the things which had some sort of skin contact with Fusun-her cigarette butts,her scale,her pen,etc.The last 250 pages are about Fusun’s seesawing life dreams-A movie star or a driver or a painter.(before she ultimately decides to be a trophy wife).One rarely comes across such a excruciatingly long and painful piece of narration.
The only thing worth reading in the book was the depiction of Turkey and its colourful culture.The author has been successful in giving each neighbourhood of Istanbul a character of its own.My personal favourites are Beyoglu and Cukurcuma and I wish i get to visit them someday.The lifestyle of the elite as well as the lower middle class is very well described.Just after the Valentine week ,I had promised myself that I will make a genuine effort to read more romantic novels this year but if the modern love stories are anything like this book then I guess I am better off without reading them.