I chose to read the novel “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk for my book report. The novel “Snow” is about a poet named Ka who is a political exile living in Germany. Ka travels to Istanbul to attend his mother’s funeral and is asked by a friend at a local newspaper to travel to the town of Kars to write about the municipal elections and a string of suicides being committed by Islamist women who are being forced to take off their headscarves at school. Ka has been experiencing writers block while living in Germany. Upon his return to Kars, poems begin to start coming to him. Throughout the novel, Ka has poems come to him after a significant event occurs or when something inspires him. Ka ends up writing 19 poems during his stay in Kars. When the citizens of Kars find out that an esteemed poet is returning to Kars, they insist that he read one of his poems in front of the town at the National Theater.
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Ka arrives at the town of Kars during a severe winter storm and is barely able to make it to the town. Upon arriving at the town, Ka reconnects with a woman that he had feelings for when he was younger. Her name is Ipek and she is recently divorced from her husband Muhtar. While Ka is meeting with Ipek at a local café, a Muslim extremist who blames the director for the suicide of a woman named Teslime kills the local director of the Institute of Education in the café. Ka and Ipek leave the café after the local director of the Institute of Education is shot. Ka goes to tell Ipek’s ex-husband, Muhtar, who is currently running to become the mayor of Kars. The two talk about Ipek and how Muhtar feels bad about the way he treated her while they were married. He confesses that he would like to repair his relationship with her. Muhtar insists that Ka call the police to report the shooting of local director of the Institute of Education. Upon doing this, both Ka and Muhtar are picked up and questioned by the police.
On his way back from the police station, Ka is introduced to Ipek’s sister, Kadife. Kadife is seen as the leader of the women who don’t want to remove their headscarves. She says that Ka is to come to dinner with her family at the hotel that Ka is staying at, the Snow Palace hotel. Ka is told that he is to read a poem at the National Theater that night during dinner. Ka doesn’t want to, but eventually decides that he will in an attempt to convince Ipek that he loves her and that she should move to Frankfurt with him. He plans to read a poem called The Place Where God Does Not Exist, even though the event will be attended by many of the Islamist extremists that attend the local religious school in Kars. Ka worries that they might try to kill him since he is an atheist and has many western views that many of the Islamists do not agree with.
The event at the National Theater ends up being a coup of the local government by an actor named Sunay Zaim. He uses the winter storm as a chance to overthrow the government since the no one can get in or out of Kars due to the amount of snow that is on the roads. He is able to take over the city for a few days since no outside military or government officials are able to get to the town of Kars. Sunay rounds up many of the Islamists and has them thrown in jail. In an attempt to denounce the coup, Kadife takes Ka to meet with Blue, a wanted Muslim radical. They plan to write a statement denouncing the coup and have Ka give it to a German newspaper and have it published. In an attempt to give the statement more credibility, Ka is sent to recruit Ipek and Kadife’s father Turget Bey to sign the statement as well.
Ka is able to convince Turget to sign the statement, and soon Kadife and her father rush off to a meeting between Blue and his supporters. Once Ka and Ipek are left alone, they are given a chance to finally make love and Ka is able to profess his love for her and his desire for her to move with him to Frankfurt. Turget Bey arrives at the meeting in which everyone from the town has gathered to produce the statement to give to Ka. Shortly after the statement is produced, the members of the military who are assisting Sunay with the coup arrest Blue.
Ka and Kadife are forced to strike up a deal with Sunay in which Kadife will remove her headscarf during another play at the National Theater if Blue is released. This is to be staged in front of leaders of the town of Kars and many of the religious school Islamists who vow that all women in Kars should be allowed to wear their headscarves. Ka get picked up by a secret policeman named Z Demerkol and is questioned on the whereabouts of Blue. Ka is beaten when he doesn’t tell them and is told that Ipek used to be Blue’s mistress and that they still remain in contact. Ka is crushed by this news since he does not care for Blue. And goes to the hotel to confront Ipek. Ipek assures his that she loves him and that he has nothing to worry about. She agrees to leave with Ka to Frankfurt, but only if he is able to convince Kadife to not go through with removing her headscarf during the play.
Ka rushes to the theater to urge Kadife not to remove her headscarf, but she insists that she must, regardless of what the reaction of the boys from the religious school is. Unable to convince Kadife, Ka attempts to go back to the hotel to take Ipek to the train station but is confronted by the military and is taken to the train station. He is told that they will go and bring Ipek to the train station, but Ipek refuses to go once she learns that Blue’s hideout has been discovered and that he has been killed. Ipek blames Ka and thinks that he is the one that told the military where he was. The train leaves with Ka and he is forced to leave Ipek behind. During the play, Kadife is handed a gun that she is shown to be empty of any live ammunition. The gun ends up being loaded and Kadife ends up shooting Sunay Zaim. The roads open back up as Ka’s train leaves and officials restore order to the town of Kars.
Ka ended up being killed about 4 years after he left the town of Kars. No one ever found his killer, but it was believed to be a follower of Blue who had vowed revenge for his death. The narrator of the story returned to Kars to retrace the steps of his friend Ka, in an attempt to find his book of poetry that he wrote while in Kars. He finds out that Ka never attempted to return to Kars or that he never attempted to contact Ipek ever again. Ipek assumed that Ka had told the authorities about Blue’s whereabouts, but we never actually learn whether this is true or not. The narrator is only able to find the poem The Place Where God Does Not Exist after transcribing it from the recording of the filming of him reading it at the National Theater. The rest of the poems are never found, and it is assumed by the author that Ka’s killer took them.
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