Ostensibly there is a plot based on the return of a Turkish exile to his small eastern hometown where the national debate about the politicization of women’s headscarves has reached a murderous pitch. Secularists and Islamists vie for supremacy while teenage girls commit suicide unable to bear the pressure placed literally on their heads. But the story is Absurdist. Characters appear and vanish without reason. Their thoughts and actions illogical, unpredictable, and without respect for the hours of the day, at least as we consider time in the West. Pamuk may have won the Nobel Prize, but after 200 pages I was too lost, smothered by the protagonists’ despair, and frustrated to continue. Febuary 2009.