Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars rag-bag, but shows promise, 1 April 2013
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This review is from: The Bastard of Istanbul (Paperback)
I had high hopes for this book, in view of the publicity for the author's recent 'Honour', and of course her courageous stance against Turkey's denial of state atrocities against Armenians. If the book has a 'message', it is the worthy one that Armenian and Turks have much in common and should accept the past and move on. But the book seemed an unsatisfactory rag-bag of insufficiently developed characters and unresolved stories, and varied uncertainly in tone between hectic wackiness and preachiness. I wondered who it was aimed at. The earlier chapters on the household of Istanbul 'aunties' seemed too self-consciously comic - perhaps trying to dispel American perceptions about Islamic conformism and uniformity - with far too much telling, not showing. Most of these ladies then disappeared from view as we moved to Armenian-American Armenoush, whose cultural background was little illuminated, beyond the sense of victimhood and the food. Armenoush's trip to Istanbul to find out more about her roots results in an unlikely friendship with Asya, the bastard daughter of the Kazanci family. The past was unravelled and unexpected connections between found between the two families.
The book was readable as this plot marched on, but I missed any real sense of how transformative the events would have been for Asya and Armenoush. Maybe the author needs more skill and maturity, maybe a better editor. I shall watch out for her, however, and read her later books.
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3.7 out of 5 stars (36 customer reviews)
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Location: London, UK

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