My Name is Red

My Name is Red

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Enishte is Shekure’s father and Black’s uncle. The word “Enishte” actually means uncle, but Enishte is called this by everyone, not just Black. Enishte adores books and illustration, and, in his younger years, he was sent on diplomatic missions to Europe, where he became fascinated with the European style of painting. The Sultan puts Enishte in charge of the creation of the secret book, which Enishte can handle because he is one of the more liberal-minded characters in the book; he believes that the European style is not blasphemous and he does not fear death or the judgment of Allah. He is the enemy of Master Osman, who is jealous of Enishte’s close relationship with the Sultan and disapproves of his embrace of the European style. Enishte is killed in his own home by the murderer, and he continues his narrative from the afterlife, where he is greeted warmly by the angel Azrael and even has a conversation with Allah Himself.

Enishte Quotes in My Name is Red

The My Name is Red quotes below are all either spoken by Enishte or refer to Enishte. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of My Name is Red published in 2002.
Chapter 20 Quotes

He was frightened because he suddenly understood––and perhaps desired––that Islamic artistry perfected and securely established by the old masters of Herat, would meet its end on account of the appeal of portraiture.
"However, it was as if I too wanted to feel extraordinary different and unique," he said. As if prodded by the Devil, he felt himself strongly drawn to what he feared, "How should I say it? It is as if this were a sin of desire, like growing arrogant before God, like considering oneself of utmost importance, like situating oneself at the center of the world."

Related Characters: Black (speaker), Enishte
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

At Enishte’s house, Black has been listening to his uncle tell stories about the time he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Venice. Enishte has described the way in which the Venetian paintings—executed in the realist style, with the subjects placed in the centre of the portrait—both frightened and intrigued him. In this passage, Enishte further examines his mixed feelings about the European style, and Black notes his concern that a desire to paint in this manner will be the death of the Islamic miniaturist tradition. These realizations convey the idea that there is something dangerous about both European painting and desire in general, particularly when that desire manifests itself as a kind of self-centeredness and competitiveness with God.

At the same time, Enishte also speaks honestly about the fact that this sinful desire—and the fear that accompanies it—is appealing. This is important not only on a thematic level, but also in what it tells us about Enishte’s character. Many of the other characters in the novel—particularly the three master miniaturists—keep negative feelings (such as jealousy, fear, arrogance, and hatred) secret, confessing them to the reader but not to others around them. Enishte is more open and honest about the ambiguities that define life as a miniaturist and religious believer—ambiguities that also pervade the cosmopolitan world of Istanbul. In this sense, Enishte can be seen as having more wisdom and moral integrity than the other characters.

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Chapter 28 Quotes

“Why did they all believe that painting would bar them from the gates of Heaven?"
"You know quite well why! Because they remembered Our Prophet's warning that on Judgment Day, Allah will punish painters most severely."
"Not painters," corrected Enishte Effendi. "Those who make idols. And this is not from the Koran but from Bukhari."
"On Judgment Day, the idol makers will be asked to bring the images they've created to life," I said cautiously. "Since they'll be unable to do so their lot will be to suffer the torments of Hell. Let it not be forgotten that in the Glorious Koran, ‘creator’ is one of the attributes of Allah. It is Allah who is creative, who brings that which is not into existence, who gives life to the lifeless. No one ought to compete with Him. The greatest of sins is committed by painters who presume to do what He does, who claim to be as creative as He."

Related Characters: The Murderer (speaker), Enishte (speaker)
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

The murderer has gone to Enishte’s house, and the two men have been discussing the secret book. Enishte has asked the murderer if he is afraid of the illustrations; although the murderer did not answer directly, he expressed concern about the rumors that are now spreading about the book. In this passage, the two discuss the question of whether or not painting itself is a sin. The murderer takes a surprisingly conservative view, perhaps in order to antagonize Enishte. At the same time, the murderer does seem to be speaking out of a place of genuine fear.

This passage highlights the ambiguity of religious doctrine and illustrates the way in which this can cause neurosis in believers. Enishte is confident that painting does not constitute idolatry, but there are certainly many within the world of the novel who disagree with him—particularly when it comes to the European style of painting, which the miniaturists have used for the Sultan’s secret book. It is easy to sympathize with the murderer’s anxiety; at the same time, the murderer’s fears are somewhat ironic given that he has already committed a much more serious crime of killing someone.

Chapter 37 Quotes

The world was faithful to the illustrations and legends that I'd avidly scrutinized over the years. I beheld Creation with awe and surprise as if for the first time, but also as if it'd somehow emerged from my memory. What I called "memory" contained an entire world: With time spread out infinitely before me in both directions, I understood how the world as I first experienced it could persist afterward as memory.

Related Characters: Enishte (speaker)
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:

Enishte is narrating from the afterlife, and has described how pleased he was with his funeral. He then goes on to explain what happened immediately after he died, when his soul was liberated from his body and rose to the heavens, during which time he witnessed an explosion of thousands of different colors. In this passage, Enishte’s claim that he experiences the world as a “memory” could have two possible meanings. On one hand, this statement could broadly refer to the knowledge of Creation from which Enishte was barred as a soul bound to a mortal body. However, Enishte’s words also connect more directly to the idea that miniaturist painters paint from their “memory” of the world as Allah sees it. This interpretation is supported by Enishte’s observation that world is “faithful to the illustrations” he spent his life looking at.

“East and West belong to me.”

Related Characters: Enishte
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:

Enishte feels a profound sense of peace and sees a brilliant, vivid red; he then realizes that he is in the presence of Allah. Enishte knows that Allah has already asked the angels about him and that the angels will have praised him. He explains that during the last two decades of his life he was influenced by “the infidel illustrations that I saw in Venice” and that he organized the creation of a book in this manner. Allah replies: “East and West belong to me.” This statement indicates that Enishte’s open and tolerant attitude of the European style was correct and not an offense to God.

It also serves as a rejection of the religious orthodoxy and prejudice exhibited by some characters in the book, such as the Erzurumis. Allah’s words suggest that it could even be seen as sinful to presume that European culture is blasphemous, because all human culture is part of God’s creation. This quotation is also particularly significant in relation to the city of Istanbul, which is known as the meeting point between East and West.

Chapter 58 Quotes

Had Enishte Effendi’s book been completed and sent to them, the Venetian masters would've smirked, and their ridicule would’ve reached the Venetian Doge––that is all. They'd have quipped that the Ottomans have given up being Ottoman and would no longer fear us.

Related Characters: The Murderer (speaker), Enishte
Related Symbols: The Book
Page Number: 399-400
Explanation and Analysis:

Black, Butterfly, and Stork have discovered that Olive is indeed the murderer, and that in the final illustration of the secret book, Olive has depicted himself where the portrait of the Sultan should be. Olive warns the other miniaturists that continuing to paint in the European style will lead to nothing but trouble. He explains that this is not necessarily because the European style is sinful, but rather because Ottoman miniaturists will never be able to compete with the Europeans in their own tradition.

This is arguably the single moment at which the murderer displays the most wisdom. He points out that a culture should never completely abandon its own traditions in favor of emulating the traditions of others. At the same time, the murderer likely overstates his case. As the novel shows, Ottoman culture is itself a product of imitation, blending a large variety of pre-existing cultural traditions. As Enishte points out much earlier in the narrative, “nothing is pure.”

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Enishte Character Timeline in My Name is Red

The timeline below shows where the character Enishte appears in My Name is Red. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: I Am Called Black
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...falling snow. Black learns that Shekure’s mother has died, and that she and his uncle (Enishte) have moved away. (full context)
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Before Black’s return, he received a letter from Enishte inviting him back to Istanbul in order to assist him with a “secret book” commissioned... (full context)
Chapter 4: I Will Be Called a Murderer
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...to hell. The murderer began to feel nervous. He knew that rumors were circulating about Enishte and the book, and that Master Osman, the Head Illuminator, hated Enishte. The murderer realized... (full context)
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The murderer told Elegant that Enishte asked him to draw a horse from his own imagination, and that it took hours... (full context)
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...them free will. The murderer asks Elegant if he realizes that the Sultan is “behind” Enishte’s work, and Elegant says nothing. The murderer asks Elegant to count twelve paces and dig,... (full context)
Chapter 5: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
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Enishte explains that he is Black’s uncle, but that other people also call him “uncle” (which... (full context)
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Like all young men who visit Enishte’s house, Black fell in love with Shekure, Enishte’s daughter. Because Black refused to “bury” his... (full context)
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Enishte admits that he cannot presently tell Black about the meaning of the book’s pictures, because... (full context)
Chapter 6: I Am Orhan
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...exact moment where the previous one finished, although with a shift to the perspective of Enishte’s six-year-old grandson Orhan. Enishte asks Orhan to kiss the hand of his uncle, Black, who... (full context)
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Orhan goes into the room of Hayriye, the enslaved woman owned by Enishte, and finds Shekure sitting there. She questions Orhan insistently, asking what Black and Enishte were... (full context)
Chapter 7: I Am Called Black
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...revealed his love for Shekure, he was forced to leave Istanbul for 12 years. Meanwhile, Enishte explains that the Sultan wants to have the secret book finished in time for the... (full context)
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Black looks at the objects in Enishte’s house and recalls the happy time in his youth he spent painting in the house... (full context)
Chapter 8: I Am Esther
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...caused him to leave Istanbul, it took her a long time to regain honor in Enishte’s eyes. As a result, she hopes Black doesn’t come to the house gain, and she... (full context)
Chapter 9: I, Shekure
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...gave her the picture, Shekure felt that she couldn’t love him like Shirin, and told Enishte about Black’s advances. Enishte had been working hard to establish professional connections for Black, but... (full context)
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...the ugliest of the miniaturists, both in appearance and personality. After Black leaves, Shekure asks Enishte if Black gave him any trouble, and Enishte responds that he was “as respectful as... (full context)
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Shekure explains that Enishte “adores” her; she originally had three older brothers, but they all died. Enishte would have... (full context)
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Shekure would have gone back to Enishte’s house, but because her husband was still possibly alive his family could have punished her... (full context)
Chapter 11: I Am Called Black
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Black can see in Master Osman’s half-blind eyes that he hates Enishte and is suspicious of Black. Osman asks what the illuminators depict in the places Black... (full context)
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...he experiences mixed feelings of adoration, respect, pity, and guilt, in part because Osman is Enishte’s arch rival. Black asks Osman “what separates the genuine miniaturist from the ordinary,” and Osman... (full context)
Chapter 15: I Am Esther
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...she feels confused and anxious, wondering what will happen to herself and her children when Enishte dies. Esther attempts to reassure her, but Shekure insists that she is conflicted about who... (full context)
Chapter 16: I, Shekure
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...replies he wouldn’t because he wants to marry her himself. Shekure then goes to see Enishte, who admits that he is distressed by Elegant’s murder. Shekure tells him that she would... (full context)
Chapter 17: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
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Enishte hears Shekure’s sobbing as he reads a passage from the Book of the Apocalypse, which... (full context)
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The procession continues. Butterfly walks over and tells Enishte he knows Olive and Stork are behind Elegant’s death. They knew Butterfly had a bad... (full context)
Chapter 18: I Will Be Called a Murderer
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The murderer was not “at all bothered” to hear Enishte announce that he would stop working on the book; Enishte must know that one of... (full context)
Chapter 20: I Am Called Black
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Black suspects that Enishte knows about the letters he has exchanged with Shekure. Enishte sits him down and begins... (full context)
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When Enishte and the Sultan decided to create the book, the Sultan insisted that the story remain... (full context)
Chapter 21: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
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Enishte admits that he plans to ask Black to write the stories for the book. Enishte... (full context)
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Enishte shows Black all the illustrations except the last one, which he cannot finish. They discuss... (full context)
Chapter 22: I Am Called Black
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...himself in his room, thinking about Shekure. Although she didn’t show herself that day at Enishte’s house, she made her presence felt, and Black is sure she was watching him. Black... (full context)
Chapter 23: I Will Be Called a Murderer
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...condemned the miniaturists and destroyed the royal workshop. Before Elegant’s death, he had been insulting Enishte and the work he was doing on the book. (full context)
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Enishte kept the final illustration of the book secret, even from the miniaturists who were helping... (full context)
Chapter 24: I Am Death
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...be afraid because it is only an illustration. One year ago, a mysterious old man (Enishte) invited a young miniaturist to his house and asked the miniaturist to illustrate Death. Enishte... (full context)
Chapter 26: I, Shekure
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When Hayrire returns with Esther, Shekure is spying on Black and Enishte. She worries that Black’s love for her will not be “eternal,” and if he continues... (full context)
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Shekure hears Black and Enishte discussing the European portrayal of facial expressions in the next room. She spies on them... (full context)
Chapter 27: I Am Called Black
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...to go to the judge, and asks him if he would agree to live in Enishte’s house once they marry. Black says he will think about it, but agrees to testify... (full context)
Chapter 28: I Will Be Called a Murderer
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...while they happen as if they were already in the past. Tonight, he goes to Enishte’s house with a clear sense of purpose, entering without waiting to be let in. Enishte... (full context)
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Enishte kindly asks if the murderer is afraid of the pictures they have produced. The murderer... (full context)
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The murderer finds Enishte’s words reasonable, but still doesn’t believe him. Enishte tells the murderer that there is a... (full context)
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Outside, it is snowing again and the streets are deserted. Enishte says that now that he knows one of the miniaturists is a murderer, he will... (full context)
Chapter 29: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
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Enishte panics after the murderer’s revelation, wondering if he will be killed next. He tells the... (full context)
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The murderer forces Enishte to keep complimenting his work, and then asks why Enishte is working with Black and... (full context)
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Enishte clarifies that “death is not the end,” but that it is beyond human understanding. He... (full context)
Chapter 30: I, Shekure
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...front door squeak and walks into a room that is in shambles; she then sees Enishte lying on the floor. She screams, hugs Enishte, and begs Allah to return the life... (full context)
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Having locked the boys in their room, Shekure goes downstairs and tells Hayrire that Enishte is dead. Hayrire shrieks and insists on going to see the body. Shekure confesses that... (full context)
Chapter 32: I, Shekure
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...to Hayrire to give to Esther. When the boys wake up, Shekure tells them that Enishte is better and has gone to the Mustafa Pasha district. At the house of the... (full context)
Chapter 33: I Am Called Black
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...a legal proceeding, which the imam agrees to do for a bribe. Black says that Enishte is ill and wishes to have Shekure’s widowhood certified before he dies, and the imam... (full context)
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Rushing back to Enishte’s house, Black feels paranoid that other people will thwart his plan, guilty that he has... (full context)
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Black goes back to Enishte’s house, where a small crowd has gathered. Shekure emerges, wearing a red bridal dress and... (full context)
Chapter 34: I, Shekure
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...as they are unused to having a father around. She then tells the boys that Enishte is very ill and ignores Shevket’s request to go and see him. As the boys... (full context)
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...up cautiously and notices that the front gate is open. She then feels certain that Enishte’s soul is at that moment struggling to leave his body, and that perhaps Black’s presence... (full context)
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As Hasan continues to accuse Black of killing Enishte, Black concedes that Enishte was murdered, but suggests that it was Hasan himself who did... (full context)
Chapter 36: I Am Called Black
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...story. In the morning, Black is awakened by Hayrire shouting. Shekure tells the children that Enishte has just died; Shevket replies that Enishte in fact died in the night and asks... (full context)
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...commissioned and shows him the illustrations. When the Head Treasurer finally appears and asks if Enishte is dead, Black is so overcome to be in his presence that he begins to... (full context)
Chapter 37: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
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Enishte’s funeral is “splendid,” attended by many important figures in Istanbul society. The presence of the... (full context)
Chapter 38: It Is I, Master Oman
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...that masters do not like innovation because “there is truly nothing new worth liking.” During Enishte’s funeral, Master Osman is so moved that he almost forgets that during his lifetime, Enishte... (full context)
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...be too busy to work on it. He adds that the Sultan is furious about Enishte’s murder and has ordered that the book must be finished and the murderer found. He... (full context)
Chapter 39: I Am Esther
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Esther enjoys the experience of being among the crowd at Enishte’s funeral. At Enishte’s house, she asks Hayrire to pour her a glass of water and... (full context)
Chapter 40: I Am Called Black
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...who have melancholy natures do not experience real joy or sadness, only constant turmoil. After Enishte’s funeral, Shekure bursts into tears and Black worries that if he begins to cry, too,... (full context)
Chapter 41: It is I, Master Osman
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...doesn’t “believe in anything.” Black and Osman discuss possible reasons why Olive might have murdered Enishte, but they reach no conclusion. (full context)
Chapter 42: I Am Called Black
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...been listening to Master Osman’s words. The Sultan tells Black that he loved and misses Enishte, but Black is so stunned that he misses some of the Sultan’s words. The Sultan... (full context)
Chapter 48: I, Shekure
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Shekure has a frightening dream about Enishte; she wakes up, leaves the boys in bed, and goes to Black’s room. She says... (full context)
Chapter 52: I Am Called Black
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...had confided his feelings to the Erzurumis as well, they avenged his death by murdering Enishte. (full context)
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Master Osman goes on to denounce Enishte for leading the miniaturists to betray him. He claims that all the miniaturists deserve to... (full context)
Chapter 53: I Am Esther
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...husband is back and that they are at “their” house. She says that Hasan visited Enishte’s house and told Shevket that his father was coming back from war, so Shevket went... (full context)
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...that she was told that Black had been tortured and had confessed to involvement in Enishte’s murder. Shekure says she will go back to Black as long as he promises to... (full context)
Chapter 55: I Am Called “Butterfly”
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...Black mentions that the final page of the book is missing, and that whoever killed Enishte stole it. He questions Butterfly suspiciously, asking why he frequented the coffeehouse. Butterfly admits that... (full context)
Chapter 56: I Am Called “Stork”
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...with Butterfly’s knife at his throat, Stork identifies the artist responsible for each illustration in Enishte’s book, and notes that Olive drew the horse. Stork apologizes for the state of his... (full context)
Chapter 57: I Am Called “Olive”
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...search the dervish lodge for the portrait of the Sultan stolen at the time of Enishte’s murder. Olive accompanies them, even giving them a key to help their search. (full context)
Chapter 58: I Will Be Called a Murderer
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...had been heading home from the coffeehouse when Elegant confronted him about the pictures for Enishte’s book, which Elegant considered to be “heresy.” (full context)
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Black asks if the murderer killed both Elegant and Enishte; the murderer evades the question, claiming that there was nothing truly blasphemous about the book,... (full context)
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...is in fact what he wants. He admits that he may have murdered Elegant and Enishte in order to create this picture, but that now that it’s done, he feels completely... (full context)
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...considers killing the three men, but he feels “only affection” for them. Instead, he repeats Enishte’s words: “To God belongs the East and West,” to which Black responds: “But is East... (full context)
Chapter 59: I, Shekure
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...being taken over by the European style, the tradition of painting in Istanbul dies altogether. Enishte’s book is never finished; Hasan flees and is never heard from again. Master Osman dies... (full context)
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...letters she exchanged with Hasan and Black, as well as the illustrations that remain from Enishte’s book. However, she warns the reader that Orhan may have embellished the narrative, as he... (full context)