Customer Review

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'The past is anything but bygone', 2 Aug 2007
This review is from: The Bastard of Istanbul (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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3.5 out of 5 stars (27 customer reviews)
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Location: ACT, Australia

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