If God writes straight with crooked lines, then when you come across a straight line you figure God wasn’t involved. With Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish novelist and Nobel laureate, it is rather the same. His later masterpieces — “My Name Is Red’’ and “Snow’’ — are shivery roundabouts, marvelous misdirections, and entrancing side trips, all leading to searching questions about his country’s awkward straddle between East and West. It took a while for Pamuk to become himself, though.
Earlier he wrote plainer and more directly, though well. And now Knopf has published “Silent House,” written nearly 30 years ago. Plain indeed, and direct well past the point of awkwardness. It has a few of Pamuk’s strengths, but if it has any real interest it is to illustrate how a beginning novelist may, stumbling, grow from his stumbles.