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8 Reviews
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Insights
Having visited Istanbul, I was pleased to get a book that was really entertaining and at the same time showed me insights into a different culture and the past and present of a fascinating place. It uses the Arabian Nights idea of lots of mini-stories within one big plot, and I found all the characters interesting and believable. Plus there were some important ideas to...
Published on 13 Nov 2009 by Hazel LUCAS

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2.0 out of 5 stars Exhausting, lengthy descriptions although a few good reflections and characters
It started off in an interesting, captivating way, but meeting all the residents of the Bon Bon Palace through lots and lots of detailed description - details which didn't prove to have any point for the story - was just too exhausting. Towards the last when we get to hear something about the narrator and the chapters are shorter and there's action rather than...
Published 4 months ago by Julie Errboe Larsen


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Insights, 13 Nov 2009
By 
Hazel LUCAS "CONWAY" (South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Flea Palace (Paperback)
Having visited Istanbul, I was pleased to get a book that was really entertaining and at the same time showed me insights into a different culture and the past and present of a fascinating place. It uses the Arabian Nights idea of lots of mini-stories within one big plot, and I found all the characters interesting and believable. Plus there were some important ideas to make me think. I loved it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent introduction to Turkish big city life, 4 Feb 2011
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Ms. Riane Revah "book croc" (london uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Flea Palace (Paperback)
In search of an 'exotic' holiday destination not too far from the Europe with which I was familiar, I encouraged my husband to book a few days in Istanbul. We both wanted an insight into the people and culture before travelling: he started on Orhan Pamuk, whereas I began reading the Flea Palace. Shafak is a Turkish writer with a background in psychology, who has lived in the USA and Europe. She writes fluidly, with lyrical descriptions of the characters who live in the Flea Palace (Bonbon palace, an apartment block in the giant, overcrowded city that is modern-day Istanbul). The characters are introduced flat by flat; their personalities, hang-ups, frustrations and idiosyncracies examined with a fond, forgiving and sympathetic eye. The novel digresses into numerous story strands, knitted expertly together as the residents interact daily; in the 'palace' there is a pervasive, mystifying stench, a symbol of the decay all around. Just as you imagine this microcosm of a city will unravel, the pace increases, and I found I could not put the novel down, I wanted so much to find out what happened to all the residents. Our visit to Istanbul was enriched by our prior reading, so much so that I went once again last summer, taking my daughters with me. I ahve since read several novels by Shafak, and enjoyed them all.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Exhausting, lengthy descriptions although a few good reflections and characters, 25 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Flea Palace (Paperback)
It started off in an interesting, captivating way, but meeting all the residents of the Bon Bon Palace through lots and lots of detailed description - details which didn't prove to have any point for the story - was just too exhausting. Towards the last when we get to hear something about the narrator and the chapters are shorter and there's action rather than description, it does pick up a little bit and has some good reflections and few good little stories, eg. the sad story of the oldest resident of the building. But still, the read wasn't "worth it" for me. The ending is just random. The story could maybe have been a good short story.
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1.0 out of 5 stars give it a skip, 26 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Flea Palace (Paperback)
Oh no what the heck I've bought. I bought it after reading 40 rules of love. but this is not a good read. eesh waste of time
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4.0 out of 5 stars A bit mad!, 16 May 2013
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This review is from: The Flea Palace (Paperback)
Having recently travelled to Istanbul, I was keen to read this. It's got lots of energy, it's funny, fast and a bit mad, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of interesting characters and this lovely, decrepit Istanbul house. Without giving away spoilers, I felt slightly let down by the ending, however, which is why it only gets four stars, but I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys slightly off-beat reading.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing portmanteau novel, 27 Oct 2008
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This review is from: The Flea Palace (Paperback)
Rambled on and on. The early part about how the White Russian couple came to own the house/apartment block, and the story of the saints buried in the grounds, was promising, but the main body of the novel just failed to engage. I was glad when I got to the end, and the attempt at a post-modern frame-tale, which explains that the whole thing had been made up by an imprisoned revolutionary, did nothing to foster either enjoyment or interest.
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14 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars novel of a historical city with a philosophical stand, 28 April 2004
This review is from: The Flea Palace (Paperback)
this is a novelof an historical city, istanbul. the story of the city withits different type of people and stories of the past, and now and maybethe future. the flea palace is alive with all its residences and their ownstories. there is no claim of documentary as elif shafak states it withinthe forst pages of her brilliant novel. nor can it be claimed to beuntrue. it is the circle, where there is no beginning and no end. so wejump into the story form one point, and go back and forth. it is one ofthose novels that you would like to refer in your daily life. thecharacters are so real, as if you already know those people and thestories are still weird but believable.
it is brilliantly edited andone of the best examples of turkish literature.
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic novel with a historical and philosophical stand, 26 April 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Flea Palace (Paperback)
The Flea Palace is a novel of an historical city, Istanbul. The story ofthe city with its different type of people and stories of the past, andnow and maybe the future. The Flea Palace (name of the apartment) is alivewith all its residences and their own stories. There is no claim ofdocumentary as Elif Shafak states it within the first pages of herbrilliant novel. Nor is there a claim its being unture. The novel itselfis the circle, where there is no beginning and no end. So we just jumpinto the story from one point, and go back and forth. It is one of thosenovels that you would like to refer in your daily life. The characters areso real, as if you already know those people. And their stories both weirdand normal, unbeliavable and real.
It is very cleaverly edited and oneof the best examples of Turkish literature.
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The Flea Palace by Elif Shafak
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