Posts Tagged ‘Pamuk’

The two and a half weeks I’ve spent at home so far have been nothing but relaxing as I prepare for a summer of what I’m expecting will be plenty of hard work. (Not that it  won’t be a great time, too.) 

In addition to getting some work done on the computer (setting up this blog, uploading pictures from the semester, weeding through some 500 old emails on my Gmail account), I’ve got to spend some quality time with old friends, catching up and saying goodbye. I’ve spent a good deal of time with Adi Amato; and most of that time has been poolside at five resorts (and counting) around the Phoenix area.

On Memorial Day weekend, she, Nikki Stevenson, and I decided to slip in to the pool at resort #1 (yes, I’m keeping their names on the DL on purpose). Since they had a wristband system, and we were found out almost as soon as we got there, we drove about a mile and a half to resort #2 and spent the rest of the afternoon there. Pictures here, here, and on my Flickr feed. We did resort #3 on Wednesday, which was uneventful and thus, perfect. Resort #4 today also had a wristband system, so we ended up finding our favorite resort out of all of them, Resort #5. This place not only had a great pool and plenty of cushioned lounge chairs, but they also came by from time to time to serve frozen grapes, fresh strawberries, iced towelettes, and ice water with citrus slices to their guests laying out in the scorching desert sun. So thoughtful. Freeloading? Yes. Worth every minute of it? Without a doubt. We have plans for a Resort #6 on Sunday. Plan B for Sunday is to go back to Resort #5. Not a half-bad last resort, now, is it? 

(We also decided it would make a great premise for an NBC sitcom, The Resorters, à la Tina Fey’s 30 Rock. Thoughts? before I send in the script for a pilot episode?)

Lounging around the pool with the moneyed of Phoenix, at the recommendation of my political philosophy professor, Kateri Carmola, I’ve been reading Snow by Orhan Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature for it in 2004 (reviews here from The New Yorker and the Times). For one, it’s been a fascinating read, in that I’ve gotten glimpse of the “West v. Islam” conflict on the fringes of that battlefront, that is, in Turkey, a nation whose identity seems as schizophrenic as Russia’s is, since Turkey is also a country caught halfway between the Occident and Orient.

On the level of literature, however, Snow is a beautifully written novel, and I admire translator Maureen Freely’s totally refined skill in loyally transferring that aesthetic to the Anglophone reader. After reading an article of hers from The Washington Post about her work on the novel, I appreciate this artistry even more. (Speaking of, click here for an article by one of my best friends from Midd interning at the Post. Go Cathy!) 

In the book, Ka, the protagonist, visits Kars, a border town he lived in before political exile, as he seeks to negotiate his identities as poet and as politician. This is a question of identity, education, career choice, etc. of mine, too, and relaxedly mulling it over while reading Snow in the ceaseless Arizona sunshine has been all I could ask for on my vacation before running off to Russia.