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The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
The Museum of Innocence is set in Istanbul during the 1970s and 1980s. Kemal, a 30-year-old businessman, with an American university degree and a prosperous future, is engaged to Sibel, an intelligent woman of his own class. When he meets Fusun, a distant cousin, he falls for her immediately. He pursues her and takes her virginity. He's unwilling to break off the engagement to Sibel, so Fusun leaves him. Unable to let Fusun go, Kemal follows her around Istanbul, eventually letting it consume his life. He collects any tangible items that are connected to her, storing them in the place where they used to make love. His obsession with the woman he can't have undoes his life. Orhan Pamuk's novel has received positive reviews with the Los Angeles Times saying, "The Museum of Innocence deeply and compellingly explores the interplay between erotic obsession and sentimentality -- and never once slips into the sentimental. There is a master at work in this book."