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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Library ed edition (18 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400133971
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400133970
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 2.3 x 16.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,006,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elif Shafak is Turkey's most-read woman writer and an award-winning novelist. She writes in both English and Turkish, and has published 13 books, nine of which are novels, including: The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, Honour and her nonfiction memoir Black Milk. Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages.She has more than one and a half million followers on Twitter: @elif_safak / www.elifshafak.com
Shafak blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the voices of women, minorities, subcultures, immigrants and global souls. Defying cliches and transcending boundaries her works draws on different cultures and cities, and reflects a strong interest in history, philosophy, culture, mysticism, Sufism and gender equality.
Shafak is also a political scientist and has taught at various universities in the USA, UK and Turkey. She has written for several international daily & weekly publications, including The Guardian, The New York Times, The Independent and The World post/Huffington post.
She was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1971. She is married with two kids and divides her time between London and Istanbul.

Product Description

Review

An astonishingly rich and lively story . handled with an enchantingly light touch' Kirkus Reviews

A brave and passionate novel (Paul Theroux)

Tremendous exuberance . . . I do like a writer with a purpose (Margaret Forster)

An astonishingly rich and lively story ... handled with an enchantingly light touch ((starred review) Kirkus)

Overflows with a kitchen sink's worth of zany characters . an entertaining and insightful ensemble novel that posits the universality of family, culture and coincidence ((starred review) Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Elif Shafak is one of Turkey's most acclaimed and outspoken novelists. She was born in 1971 and is the author of six novels, most recently The Saint of Incipient Insanities, The Gaze and The Flea Palace, and one work of non-fiction. She teaches at the University of Arizona and divides her time between the US and Istanbul. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Whatever falls from the sky above, thou shall not curse it. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Penfold on 12 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure why, on balance, I enjoyed this book. It would definitely have benefited from more rigorous editing. Sometimes a badly composed sentence trips you up just as you are beginning to admire richness and intricacy of the scenery. The technique of introducing each character with an explanation of their mental attributes and motivation is also a bit unsophisticated; although it does help to organise the large cast of players. Some of the minor characters are even given nicknames; the dipsomaniac cartoonist, the closeted gay columnist, presumably a kind of shorthand to help the reader remember the part they are playing. Then there's the dependence on implausible coincidences to give coherence to the plot.

That said, I'm glad I persisted with it. Turkey is a country that westerners like me know only as a slightly exotic holiday destination. This book gives us a different point of view of another culture. To what extent it is accurate or representative I obviously can't tell but it's certainly fascinating and colourful; like an expensive carpet, it has a lot knots to the inch.

The book doesn't explain why Turkey is so sensitive about the Armenian genocide. The Turkish characters in it seem to be more ignorant than hostile but the subsequent trial of the author for 'denigrating Turkishness' shows it goes much deeper than that. Unlike a minor character in a book, you can't adequately describe a nation with a nickname.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Aug. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This novel caught my attention because of media coverage. It kept my attention because of the characters and the way the story developed.

For me, the central theme of the novel was interpretation and denial of truth. We see how, over time, facts can be distorted and reinterpreted, or just denied. All of this is in the much broader context of the treatment of the Armenians in 1915 - which resulted in Ms Shafak being accused of 'insulting Turkishness'.

You can - if you choose - ignore the politics and be swept up by the wonderfully idiosyncratic characters. The narrative style meanders through the lives of the characters sometimes avoiding aspects that might seem important to the reader in favour of details that appear incidental.

Still, each of the main characters (particularly the women in Istanbul)and to a lesser extent the family in the USA keep the story moving. Who can resist the notion of using Auntie Feride's hair colour as a guide to her insanity? Or Auntie Banu's relationship with her djinns? The younger women: Asya and Armanoush are not, in my view, as well developed but perhaps that is for other reasons.

The result is an interesting story built on shared but contested history. Ultimately, as in all struggles, there are 'winners' and 'losers'.

Recommended.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By misterbaz on 28 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Having read that Shafak had been charged under article 301 of Turkey's constitution, because the words of one of her characters were alleged to "insult Turkishness", I was keen to see what the fuss was all about. It's certainly an interesting way of seeking to shed some light on the Turkish-Armenian divide, where views appear to be more nuanced than you might believe from reading the newspapers. At the same time it paints a very different picture of life in Istanbul from what one might expect.

I enjoyed this book and the occasional nod to magical realism reminded me of aspects of Salman Rushdie's or Isabel Allende's writing. That in itself should be a recommendation and I'll certainly be reading some more of her books.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Walter Hypes on 1 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this novel of friendship, memory and religion, author Elif Shafak weaves a complex tale that juxtaposes the past with the present and unveils the age-old cultural dissonance that exists between the Turks and Armenians. Thus at its heart, The Bastard of Istanbul is a deep meditation on what it really means to be a product of history, a history "that has always kept us alive and united."

Armanoush (Amy) Tchakhmakhchian has grown up in Arizona. Undoubtedly American, Amy has always been aware of her unique Armenian heritage. As Amy grows older, she's always conscious of her fragmented childhood, yet unable to find a sense of continuity that she so richly craves.

In the meantime, Rose, Amy's American mother, marries Mustafa Kazanci, a young Turk, transplanted to Arizona by his family back in Istanbul in the hope that he will be spared the bad omen that has fallen upon every man in the Kazanci family. Barsam, Amy's Armenian father has since relocated to San Francisco and the fact that a Turk is currently raising his daughter, and that Barsam is doing nothing about it provides a constant source of displeasure for his family.

In Istanbul, the young Asya grows up listening to the music of Johnny Cash, the identity of her father shrouded in secrecy, forced to call her mother "aunt" Zeliha, whilst also labeled a "bastard" by the world around her. Zeliha, with her with her "frizzy raven-black hair, and her nose ring," and her natural propensity to rebelliousness frustrates her sisters and her mother, this group of Kazanci women who have entwined their lives with "traditions, evil-eye beads, coffee-cup readings, and fortune-telling ceremonies.
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