Review: A Look from the Levant at our Fragile Mediterranean

Gemma Aubarell

Director of Culture, Gender and Civil Society
European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed)

Review: A Look from the Levant at our Fragile Mediterranean Island Ohran Pamuk, Las noches de la peste, translated by Xavier Gaillard and Miguel Ángel Romero, Barcelona, Penguin Random House Mondadori, 2022 / Nits de pesta, translated by Xavier Gaillard, Barcelona, Més Llibres, 2022.

In Nights of Plague, Pamuk gives us an historical perspective imagined in the full decadence of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th-century. The place is an island, Minguer, and the reality is made up of religious sectarianisms, political conflicts and foreign interferences. The trigger will be an extreme situation caused by the eastern bubonic plague, a pandemic that devastated this part of the world at the time. This book caused the author quite a few problems in his country, because of his critical look at the dismemberment of imperial Turkey and the supposed parallels between the fictional and historical messianic leaders. As for the context of the story told in the book, its publication coincided with the pandemic, a circumstance that helps the contemporary approach to situations that are close to us. The story told and the reality that surrounds it go hand in hand in a reading full of nuances and suggestions, although it is certainly quite a challenge for the reader to decipher which is which.

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