An example of how the personal essay form can be used to say something both more simple and profound than any amount of in-depth commentary by political journalists.
Starting with his own reactions to seeing 9/11 unfold on TV in an Istanbul coffeehouse, the Nobel-winning novelist describes the humiliation and resentment that lay behind the anti-Americanism he encountered within certain Turkish strangers’ reactions that day. Pamuk wrote in the hope of preventing glib talk of a clash between ‘East and West’ – the kind of mistaken historical analysis that has obscured Turkey’s domestic political battles, in which Pamuk is a veteran.
Related recommendation: Gore Vidal’s ‘Black Tuesday’ alternatively titled ‘September 11, 2001 (A Tuesday)’ in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, 2002, and Selected Essays: Gore Vidal, 2007
Themes: America, Emancipation and Justice
Genres: Familiar or Personal, Polemical or Political , Topical essay or article