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Edited and translated by Zhang Qian, People's Daily Online
The Museum of Innocence is a novel by Turkish Nobel-laureate Orhan Pamuk published on August 29, 2008. The book is a long and detailed account of Kemal, a wealthy businessman’s obsessive love for Füsun, a lower class shop girl for over 30 years starting in 1975. Kemal loves without regard to the interests or situation of Füsun. Oblivious to his own selfishness, Kemal first refuses to give up his fiancée to be with the love of his life, and then becomes an obsessive collector of the artifacts of his life with Füsun.
This is a relationship that is both lengthy and increasingly bizarre as Kemal objectifies Füsun and becomes a collector intent on satisfying his emotional obsession with his object of desire rather carrying on a healthy human relationship with his beloved.
The book is filled with references to butterflies, a caged bird and other collectibles and collectors as Kemal carries out the fetishism of a collector. Kemal, while enthralled by Füsun, can’t in the end treat her as a subject, rather than an object-a human being rather than a thing.