Nights of Plague: A novel (Paperback)

Nights of Plague: A novel By Orhan Pamuk, Robert Finn (Translated by) Cover Image
By Orhan Pamuk, Robert Finn (Translated by)
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From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature: Part detective story, part historical epic—a bold and brilliant novel that imagines a plague ravaging a fictional island in the Ottoman Empire.

It is April 1900 on the imaginary island of Mingheria—a state of the Ottoman Empire—located between Crete and Cyprus. Half the population is Muslim, the other half are Orthodox Greeks, and tension is high between the two. When a plague arrives, the island revolts.

To stop the epidemic, an accomplished quarantine expert races to the island, but not everyone is happy with the precautions or the quarantine he enforces. What follows is a shocking murder. The plague continues its rapid spread and stricter quarantine measures are declared, but the incompetence of the island’s governor, increased hostility between the two religions, and the people’s refusal to respect the bans doom the quarantine to failure. As the death count rises to insurmountable amounts, warships blockade the island to keep the disease from spreading. Now the people of Mingheria are on their own, and they must find a way to defeat the plague themselves.

Steeped in history and rife with suspense, Nights of Plague is an epic story set more than one hundred years ago, with themes that feel remarkably contemporary.

About the Author

ORHAN PAMUK won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. His novel My Name Is Red won the 2003 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His work has been translated into more than sixty languages. He lives in Istanbul. Translated by Ekin Oklap.

Praise For…

A New Yorker Best Book of the Year

"[Nights of Plague] effortlessly generates a set of resonances that the novelist could hardly have predicted when he started the book....Pamuk's lovingly obsessive creation of the invented Mediterranean island of Mingheria, a world so detailed, so magically full, so introverted and personal in emphasis, that it shimmers like a memory palace, as if Pamuk were conjuring up a lost city of his youth, Istanbul’s exilic, more perfect alter ego. The effect is daringly vertiginous, at once floatingly postmodern and solidly realistic, something like Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities” crossed with the nostalgic re-creations of Joyce’s lost Dublin, or Joseph Roth’s vanished Austro-Hungarian Empire...Mingheria, as Pamuk conceives it, is an impossible Eden...a fantastical, fantastically beautiful place...the book is engrossing and easy to read. The result is strangely paradoxical: a big but swift novel, a novel about pain and death that is fundamentally light and buoyant." —James Wood, The New Yorker

Nights of Plague, Pamuk’s 11th — and longest — novel, is a real book about an imaginary place, Mingheria, an island in the eastern Mediterranean between Crete and Cyprus...Like William Faulkner, who provided a map of his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Pamuk places a map of Mingheria (capital: Arkaz) at the beginning of his book...Like works by Albert Camus, Daniel Defoe and Alessandro Manzoni  (whose “The Betrothed” provides an epigraph), this is a plague narrative, a record of Mingheria’s deadly yearlong ordeal...But “Nights of Plague” is also an origin story, an account of how a proud island nation achieved its sovereignty... A story that should resonate loudly with the current pandemic. . . . Thrilling." —Steven G. Kellman, Los Angeles Times

"As it pivots between saga and satire, mystery and pseudo-history...[Pamuk] shows nous, charm and cunning as he keeps his bulky cargo afloat and on the move. If this generous hybrid of epidemic soap opera and novel of ideas has becalmed patches, it stirs the senses and flexes the mind. You will be sad to leave lavishly imagined Mingheria, where ‘a view of the sea and a trace of its scent’ can always ‘make life seem worth living again’." Boyd Tonkin, The Spectator
"One of the most interesting books I’ve read this year...[Pamuk] flout[s] the normal rules of storytelling...And yet none of these infringements of literary convention seems to matter much when set against the exuberance of Pamuk’s invention...a compendium of literary experiments, ludic, audacious, exasperating and entertaining." —Lucy Hughes-Hallett, The Guardian

"Deftly blending rich realism and wry social commentary, Turkish Nobel laureate Pamuk...delivers an invented history that leverages the all-too-familiar experience of a deadly pandemic to return to one of his cherished topics: Ottoman bureaucratic and social reform...Pamuk is always a must-read, and the potency and timeliness of this novel will stir even more interest." —Brendan Driscoll, Booklist (starred review)

"Consistently captivating ... the cracking narrative will keep readers in for the long haul." Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781984897619
ISBN-10: 1984897616
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 704
Language: English