I’ve seen the main theme of Innocence described as the building of “a mausoleum of love”, and it does have a certain slow, stultifying quality, but even more than – and mind you, not in spite of that – it powerfully describes the obsession of love and possession. Istanbul and Turkey of the late 20th century are also very much a part of this effort; hard to recall a novel that portrays a place and time with such extraordinary care.

“With the engine stalled, we would notice the deep silence reigning in the park around us, in the summer villa before us, in the world everywhere. We would listen enchanted to the whirring of an insect beginning vernal flight before the onset of spring, and we would know what a wondrous thing it was to be alive in a park on a spring day in Istanbul.”