The Museum of Innocence is a story of a man's deep and obsessive love for a woman, that endures for decades, ultimately changing the course of his life. Although engaged to another woman, Kemal's chance encounter with a shop girl leads to a lifelong obsession. His love for her transcends all else and his own life loses meaning, as he clings desperately to any fragments of her he can get hold of.
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Kemal is a wealthy business man, from a highly regarded family, and has established a certain position in Istanbul's upper class. However his love for the shop girl, Füsun - a distant cousin he has not seen in years - has no boundaries.
With no concern for scandal, he pursues her relentlessly, initially with success. However society and family pressures defeat them and the affair is short lived.
Kemal's love only burns stronger under constraint and his attachment to her deepens as his collection of objects from her - cigarette butts, tea cups she has drunk from, a lipstick - grows.
Charting their love story from the mid 1970's to the late 1980's, Kemal's consuming passion for Füsun against the exotic backdrop of Istanbul is a story for the ages. Love, obsession and innocence interplay, and his emotional attachments grow stronger with each object added to his collection, in The Museum of Innocence.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is a rich and atmospheric fable, bringing Istanbul to life in a unique and spellbinding way. Its exploration of the depth of human passion is thought provoking and mesmerising.
Best scene in story:
There are many scenes set in restaurants by the Bosphorus, with fine food, smells and important dialogue between characters. These scenes are the richest and most evocative, as they provide a multi layered picture of the drama as it unfolds.
Opinion about the main character:
It is difficult to feel sympathy for him when he no longer sees boundaries. There is a distinct point in the book where you realise his passion has become obsession and this is where the reader no longer wants him to win back his first love.