The Museum of Innocence: an Unpredictable Love

The Museum of Innocence

This afternoon, I had just finished the last 5 pages of Orhan Pamuk's novel entitled "The Museum of Innocence". I bought this English-language novel from an online bookstore that once offered this novel with Salman Rushdie's memoirs. For months I could only finish this novel on the sidelines of my activities, usually I read it before Maghrib or before going to bed or even when I couldn't sleep at all when the world was really dark. I liked Orhan Pamuk's works after I read "Snow" and "Istanbul"

The most interesting thing about this Turkish writer is his expertise in presenting details that are so full in every story. As he told in "Istanbul" he totally became a novelist after deciding to stop being a painter because of a breakup with his lovely girlfriend. In Pamuk's "The Museum of Innocence" it was like writing his own life story, so detailed, full of appreciation that things were very trivial and certainly very depicting everyday life. It's just that, I can never imagine this work maybe because I have never been to Istanbul.

This story is about Kemal, a young man from a wealthy family in a poor country who is trying to imitate the European lifestyle, which is the talk of gossipers throughout Turkey. As one of the heirs of the big company namely Satsat, Kemal will soon be engaged to Sibel, a woman who was beautiful, elegant, classy and graduated from Sorbone, Paris. Their family, friends and coworkers ensure that Kemal and Sibel are a harmonious couple and will live happily like the story of Prince and Princess in a fairy tale.

On the sidelines of their busy work, they did not forget to help their families in preparing their engagement party to be held at the Hilton hotel. The invited guests were of course family, relatives and important people in Turkey, who would also be invited to their wedding party.

But Kemal suddenly liked Fusun, a distant relative who grew up as a very beautiful teenager, who was the subject of gossip for attending a beauty contest. Fusun works in a well-known bag shop in Istanbul. Kemal began the meeting by pretending to buy a bag, then taught him Mathematics because Fusun wanted to attend the University. Then the seeds of their love grew and they often spent time together in Kemal's apartment. Fusun gave his virginity to Kemal, whom he knew would marry Sibel.

The young man was crazy about the Fusun and hesitated on how to stop his engagement plan with Sibel. He did not want to make a mistake by humiliating his family and Sibel family if he refused to marry after they were engaged only to marry a beautiful poor girl who was his own distant relative. In that uncertainty, he continued to live his beautiful days with Fusun and occasionally spent time with Sibel and their friends. Together with Sibel, he became pretended to be happy because only in his head was Fusun, Fusun, Fusun and Fusun.

Kemal and Sibel's engagement party took place grandly. Fusun and his parents came to meet the invitation. Kemal was very jealous when many men looked at Fusun and wanted to dance with her. Everything about Fusun is perfect, except for poor families. Fusun is a type of beauty that can make every man crazy and the girl is in bloom. She is like a star worshiped by the whole country. In his own engagement party, Kemal really wanted to dance with Fusun.

After his engagement night Kemal never saw Fusun again. Then Kemal's life changed forever. He was more alone in his apartment and noticed all the items that Fusun had touched, such as glass windows, sofas, ashtrays, cigarette butts, glasses. Fusun and his family have moved somewhere and no one helped him to find Fusun just to find out what the reason the girl went and make his life go crazy. Sibel, who began to smell the madness of Kemal, did not want to lose his fiancee to a girl who was under her, a teenager who graduated from high school with a modern female graduate of Sorbone.

Therefore Sibel tried to please Kemal and they lived together in one apartment for three months. The two of them later became public talks because the 1970s virginity and living together before marriage were very crucial issues, although some Turkish people who were oriented towards Europe began to imitate the Western lifestyle quietly or openly. But Sibel didn't care as long as he didn't lose his fiancee.

But then Kemal couldn't take it anymore. Even though Sibel broke the taboo just to try to return it to the conditions before he met Fusun, Kemal could not be returned. He has become a lost young man. Then they broke off the engagement and made an uproar in the community. Kemal chose to bust his company, remembering Fusun and their story in his apartment and began to look for the existence of Fusun in every corner of Istanbul. Kemal felt he was crazy and saw the shadow of Fusun appear suddenly, everywhere, like a ghost. He was increasingly curious and believed that Fusun was still alive. His letters were entrusted to her through unrequited Fusun friends. Fusun family disappeared without a trace and it's frustrated Kemal.

One day he received a reply from Fusun and the girl wrote down their address. Because his longing was unbearable, Kemal visited Fusun family who lived in an ordinary settlement with their small apartment. He dreamed of applying for Fusun at that time and invited him to get married. So he prepared a bouquet of flowers and a pair of earrings given by his father to his future wife. His head is filled with imagination about weddings, new homes, children and happy lives.

Unfortunately, a man stood beside Fusun when the family welcomed Kemal. Fusun was married five months ago with a man named Feridun, a young man who aspires to make a film and will make Fusun one of the most luminous celebrities in Turkey. Initially, Kemal felt betrayed by Fusun and tried to focus on work to forget the girl. But he changed his decision and disturbed Fusun family by visiting her almost every day for dinner. He did not waste the opportunity to get Fusun, marry her and live happily ever after.

For eight years, he continued to make visits to Fusun house that he wanted to eat his mother's dinner. Although Fusun was married, at least he had a reason to chat with his mother, steal the opportunity to chat and together with Fusun, watch the news with his family, comment on Fusun paintings and together Feridun tried to smooth the Fusun road to become celebrities. He then became an investor for Lemon Film where they will make a film whose story is adapted from the Ottoman story but similar to his story and Fusun, and around female virginity.

In addition to meeting Fusun, it turned out that Kemal's visit had a different purpose. Because he believed in the end he would marry Fusun and live in their house, then Kemal began to take small items such as combs, cigarette butts and cigarette packs of Fusun, clocks, perfume containers, shoes and other items belonging to Fusun and he collected in his apartment. He enjoyed a strange pleasure with Fusun and Feridun watching films in theaters during the Summer and thankful that his first film project with Feridun made another artist named Papatya a leading role in replacing Fusun.

The film was a success on the market and he was very happy that Fusun would avoid the life of an annoying artist. Until then, gossip about the Kemal and Fusun scandals began to heat up and even appeared in the newspaper several times. Instead of being angry, Kemal enjoyed it because now the world knows that he is a man who is loyal to his lover. The hope for marriage to Fusun has never been extinguished.

One day Fusun's father passed away and Feridun who was having an affair with an artist named Papatya planned to file a divorce with Fusun. Kemal took care of the divorce process and got Fusun back. They plan engagement and wedding party as other people were did. However, one day, not long after their engagement, Fusun drove a car at high speed, quarreled with Kemal because Fusun knew that the man was deliberately blocking her path to becoming a star in Turkey.

A collision occurred. Fusun dies. Kemal seemed to lose his own life and began designing the construction of the Museum of Innocence in memory of Fusun. He then bought a Fusun house in Cukurkuma and bought a new apartment for Fusun's Mother. He brought with him all the flat items he had collected in his apartment, including the Fusun dress he really liked. Then he asked the writer Orhan Pamuk to write his story, the story of the Fusun he loved.

The collection of The Museum of Innocence
The collection of The Museum of Innocence
The collection of The Museum of Innocence
Orhan Pamuk and the collection of The Museum of Innocence
And the surprise is that the Museum of Innocence really exists in Cukurkuma, Beyoglu, Istanbul and the building was bought from the Taksin family as told in the novel. Is this a true story? and apparently not. These novels and museums together inspire each other to the author. He wrote based on the things he collected to build the museum. So, the contents of the museum and the stories in the novel will not be much different. The museum opened in 2012, after the novel was published in 2008.

The items on display in the museum itself are items that he collected from childhood, including his paintings or those he obtained from other people and photographs. Fill in the museum like really everything about Fusun as in the novel. Really creative, once rowing two islands exceeded and Orhan Pamuk managed to collect the coffers through both. Very clever!

The museum was nominated for the The Designs of the Year award from the London Design Museum in 2013. As a novelist who writes seriously and is very distinctively stylish, Orhan Pamuk has established himself as one of the world's best writers. His works are translated into more than 55 languages.

Not in vain he broke up, his turning point from being a painter who did not have a future in Turkey actually made him close to art in his own way. And this museum is proof that he is truly an artist who has an unimaginable imagination gift.

Well, if I have the chance to visit Turkey, I will visit this museum. Maybe, I will also meet Orhan Pamuk and chat with him around the world of writing. I salute, because this handsome man has produced many works that are worldwide. And I, of course, will try to get other works, read them, write my opinions on this blog and save them for my future inheritance.

Depok, 8 June 2019

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