In her second novel written in English, Elif Shafak confronts her countrys violent past in a vivid and colorful tale set in both Turkey and the United States. At its center is the bastard of the title, Asya, a nineteen-year-old woman who loves Johnny Cash and the French Existentialists, and the four sisters of the Kazanci family who all live together in an extended household in Istanbul: Zehila, the zestful, headstrong youngest sister who runs a tattoo parlor and is Asyas mother; Banu, who has newly discovered herself as a clairvoyant; Cevriye, a widowed high school teacher; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. Their one estranged brother lives in Arizona with his wife and her Armenian daughter, Armanoush. When Armanoush secretly flies to Istanbul in search of her identity, she finds the Kazanci sisters and becomes fast friends with Asya. A secret is uncovered that links the two families and ties them to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres. Full of vigorous, unforgettable female characters, The Bastard of Istanbul is a bold, powerful tale that will confirm Shafak as a rising star of international fiction.
Whatever falls from the sky above, thou shall not curse it. That includes the
No matter what might pour down, no matter how heavy the cloudburst or how icy the sleet, you should never ever utter profanities against whatever the heavens might have in store for us. Everybody knows this. And that includes Zeliha.
Yet, there she was on this first Friday of July, walking on a sidewalk that flowed next to hopelessly clogged traffic; rushing to an appointment she was now late for, swearing like a trooper, hissing one profanity after another at the broken pavement stones, at her high heels, at the man stalking her, at each and every driver who honked frantically when it was an urban fact that clamor had no effect on unclogging traffic, at the whole Ottoman dynasty for once upon a time conquering the city of Constantinople, and then sticking by its mistake, and yes, at the rain . . . this damn summer rain.
Rain is an agony here. In other parts of the ...
Shafak's leisurely, gently humorous narrative of two families of strong women makes for easy, entertaining and elucidating reading - it is one of those very rare books that actually improves upon reflection.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (1158 words).
At its height the Ottoman Empire,
which had its capital in Istanbul
(formerly Constantinople), spanned three
continents, controlling much of
Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and
North Africa, and was at the center of
interactions between the Eastern and
Western worlds for about 600 years.
The "golden age" of the Empire was in the 16th Century during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. It was the only Islamic power to seriously challenge the rising power of Western Europe from the Renaissance onwards. The Empire steadily declined during the 19th ...
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