Advance reader reviews of Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin.

Last Train to Istanbul

By Ayse Kulin

Last Train to Istanbul
  • Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Oct 2013,
    396 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

Page 3 of 3
There are currently 21 member reviews
for Last Train to Istanbul
Order Reviews by:
  • Priscilla M. (Houston, TX)

    A Story of Courage
    Last Train to Istanbul is a story of courage, but not the blockbuster kind Hollywood likes to portray. It is the quiet courage of convictions born of love, patriotism, and compassion. The story unfolds slowly and thoughtfully, laying the groundwork for a satisfying conclusion. The careful layering of relationships, both personal and political, is part of the essential framework.
    Turkey, strategically placed, is being pressured by the Allies and by Germany to choose sides in the early days of WWII. Macit is an official in the government's general staff and attend endless meetings as Turkey tries to remain neutral. His wife Sahiba grieves over the estrangement of her sister Selva, who, against her Muslim family's wishes, marries a Turkish Jew and moves to Paris. Selva and her husband Rafe move from Paris to Marsielle to try to escape the ever tightening noose being drawn by the Gestapo. The fate of all Turkish citizens, Jews and Muslim, hangs in the balance as Hitler moves farther into France.
    The main characters in this story are believable and solid. Some you will identify with more than others, but all play a part in developing the story. I learned a lot about the people of Turkey and how they took care of all their citizens, regardless of religious affiliation, during WWII.
  • Bea C. (Liberty Lake, WA)

    Saving Turkish Jews
    The historical part of this book is very interesting. I had never read anything about Turkey's involvement in saving Jews during WWII. Parts of the book were filled with suspense and I had no trouble finishing the book. The only thing that kept it from being a 4 star book is that the characters were rather one dimensional and too good to be true. If you like historical fiction, this one would be good, it being a step up from a romance novel.
  • Catherine M. (Mankato, MN)

    Last Train to Istanbul
    Ayse Kulin's engaging and illuminating "Last Train to Istanbul" is, throughout its pages, a story of separation and connection. From a broad perspective, Turkey struggles to remain disengaged from the war raging throughout Europe while England, Germany, and Russia seek to draw it (not she, as used in the story) in. At the same time, but from a more focused perspective, the main characters—individuals, families, and Turkey's courageous and honorable diplomats—grapple with distances (literally and figuratively), discord, and constancy between and among themselves.

    I learned a great deal from reading Kulin's book. As with Thomas Keneally's "Schindler's List", I came to understand a bit more about morality, valor, and decency during dishonorable and abhorrent times.
  • Linda M. (Windsor, CA)

    Sweet Escape
    I found Last Train to Istanbul to be a very good book. It relates historical events from WWII (previously unknown to me) in a compelling way. The author tells a great story, and her characters and settings are beautifully painted. The reader gets a wonderful idea of the beauty of Turkey as well as the fear of living in Occupied France during the war. The author does a very good job of giving the reader enough information about each of the characters and then brings them together in the last quarter of the book. The author wove together actual people and events into her story so the reader learns a lot about Turkey's role in WWII as well as the protection they afforded their citizens living in German occupied lands. I think it would make a good book club choice as well.
  • Laurie F. (Brookline, MA)

    Best Read in a Long Time
    Bravo to Ayse Kulin and her translator John W. Baker for such a rich and poignant story. Last Train to Istanbul takes you on a journey with two Turkish sisters, their families and their acquaintances, all who lead separate lives during the German occupation. Despite the events, the sisters cling to one another though their memories and concerns during this dark time in during Hitler's march. Each character takes a different path, through their ideals and political survival to end up on the Last Train. A highly recommended read!
  • Carolyn L. (Cincinnati, OH)

    Jews and Turkey--A Lesser Known Story
    The Last Train to Istanbul gives readers a glimpse into life in Turkey as WW II presses on the country's doorstep. It is the story of an open-minded family that will confront their daughter's decision to marry a Jewish boy only to cause Selva and her husband Rafael to move to France where they hope to find happiness.

    In France, the Nazis are escalating their efforts to round up Jews. Faced with the possible loss of her husband, Selva turns to the Turkish Consulate for help to save her family.
  • Eileen F. (Drexel Hill, PA)

    Bumpy Ride Home
    Interesting facet of WWII involving Turkish citizens escaping Vichy ruled France. The book gives a good insight into the role of the diplomatic corps in aiding citizens. Some of the main characters seemed self involved and unaware of the scope of the war. Some plot lines went no where. Also the translation seemed stilted at points during the story.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  95Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.