The new life

I have read another book from Orhan Pamuk, this time The new life.

The new life is a bit dark, a mixup of love, mysticism, meaning of life, and other themes. It’s the story of a student, Osman, who falls in love with a girl at his University, and reads the book that she has been reading. This book has the gift to change a man’s life: everyone reading it begins searching for the new life, the life explained in the book, and the search for “the angel” which is a metaphor for the best thing that can happen in a man’s life, the absolute. The girl, Canan, has a boyfriend that is being shot, and then mysteriously vanishes. Osman desperately tries to find her, at her parents, at the University, but without success. He then embarks in an initiation journey throughout the country, riding bus by bus, in search of the angel and of Canan. He looks for bus accidents, staying in the back seat, and stealing the wallets from the victims.

After some time he finds Canan in a bus, who is also in the same initiation journey, looking for her boyfriend who was shot and ran away from the hospital. Canan has also been influenced by the book, but doesn’t want to talk too much about it. They continue the journey together, while Osman is astonished by her beauty, her female aura, and by his love for her. The book has been forbidden by authorities, and has been circulating in the underground, and only few people know of it’s existence. Everyone reading it begins a journey to find the angel and the new life that is being presented in the book. Canan however wants also to find her boyfriend that disappeared. The book’s followers are pursued by various people wanting to harm them, as her boyfriend being shot. The idea of a secret organization is presented.

Osman and Canan find doctor Narin, a strange character, who is in fact the father of Canan’s boyfriend. He is the source of the organization that follows the book, he has been paying agents to follow his son’s steps and figure out why he broke relationships with his family, and what is this book that he has been reading and changed his life. Narin thinks that his son died in a bus accident, because his agents found a corpse with his id. However, Osman figures out this is not true, and begins his true search for the guy. He discovers him hiding in some small village, copying and rewriting the book over and over. He kills him, as an act to free Canan of her obsessive love. However, when he returns to Canan, she is gone, and never to see her again.

The rest of his life, Osman is watched from the shadows by his murder, and by the shadow of Canan, his lost love that he will never see again and not find any trace of her. He makes his own family, but only as an act of instinct and of obligation, his mind remains trapped in his love for Canan and within the book.

He finds his bitter end in a bus, seeing a serious accident about to happen, and finally finding the angel, which is the angel of death. The absolute moment that he has been searching for all his life is finally there, at some point where he doesn’t really want to die, but he is astonished by finally getting an answer to his question about the book, however leaving behind a loving wife, a small kid, and a love that was never fulfilled.

A new life is an extraordinary book, full of mysticism, of persuasion, a book of love and misery, about understanding of life. Canan is the symbol of the lost love, of idealistic love, that is never fulfilled. Osman is the simple main in front of the miracle and the man in search of absolute, of redemption, of understanding. The book, which is the main point that the characters revolve around, is the symbol of knowledge, of eye-opener that turns a simple monotonous life into a great journey that every single human being would one day like to do: give up everything for the love of their life, for the knowledge that would make them understand everything, their purpose in life, and reach the state of completeness.

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