Orhan Pamuk: Veba Geceleri (Nights of Plague)

The latest addition to my website is Orhan Pamuk‘s Veba Geceleri (Nights of Plague). This tells the long and complex story of the fictitious Mediterranean island of Mingheria. The story opens in 1901 when Mingheria is part of the failing Ottoman Empire. There has been an outbreak of plague (though denied by the Governor) so the Sultan sends his expert to deal with it. He is soon murdered. Next to arrive is another expert, married to the Sultan’s niece. We will later learn that the narrator is the great-grand-daughter of the couple. We follow a complicated plot with the many problems of dealing the with the plague but also Mingheria’s move toward independence. The population is part Greek, part Muslim, bringing its own problems but, of course many break the quarantine and there are also sorts of devious plots and sub-plots, not least when the Great Powers and the Sultan get involved. We follow the story more or less to the present day though the main action is at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a first-class, complex story, with plots and sub-plots, dirty deeds, international politics, love and romance and a primer how not to deal with a plague.

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