By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated October 23, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

When the recently engaged Kemal falls for a poor ”distant relation,” he pursues her with the obsessiveness of a Turkish Humbert Humbert. His affections are unrequited, so he begins collecting objects related to his beloved, a hobby that expands into the vast Borgesian institution of the title. The Museum of Innocence, Pamuk’s first book since winning the Nobel, pulses with the hopeful melancholy of an aching heart, but gets bogged down in family dinners, cinema trips, and midday perambulations. But Orhan Pamuk successfully retains his role as literature’s guide to Istanbul, that gateway between East and West, which, like Kemal, is caught between two worlds and fully belongs to neither. B+

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