|Digital List Price:||275.62|
|Kindle Price:|| 216.82 |
Save 282.18 (57%)
|Sold by:||Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited|
Follow the Author
The Bastard of Istanbul Kindle Edition
One rainy afternoon in Istanbul, a woman walks into a doctor's surgery. 'I need to have an abortion', she announces. She is nineteen years old and unmarried. What happens that afternoon will change her life.
Twenty years later, Asya Kazanci lives with her extended family in Istanbul. Due to a mysterious family curse, all the Kaznci men die in their early forties, so it is a house of women, among them Asya's beautiful, rebellious mother Zeliha, who runs a tattoo parlour; Banu, who has newly discovered herself as clairvoyant; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. And when Asya's Armenian-American cousin Armanoush comes to stay, long hidden family secrets connected with Turkey's turbulent past begin to emerge.
'Wonderfully magical, incredible, breathtaking...will have you gasping with disbelief in the last few pages' Sunday Express
'A beautiful book, the finest I have read about Turkey' Irish Times
'Heartbreaking...the beauty of Islam pervades Shafak's book' Vogue
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From The Washington Post
Two extended families, one Turkish living in Istanbul, the other in San Francisco, part of the Armenian diaspora. Through the interactions among and between them, we trace the tragic patterns of blame, denial, suppression of memory that have characterized relations between the two peoples since the massacres and deportations suffered by the Armenians at Turkish hands in the early months of 1915, perhaps the first example in the 20th century of what has come to be called ethnic cleansing, and systematic enough to be regarded as a policy of genocide -- two out of three Armenians living under Ottoman rule were done to death. The Turkish state has yet to acknowledge these atrocities, in spite of ample historical documentation.
Elif Shafak has chosen to write The Bastard of Istanbul in English, a decision to be applauded, though with mixed feelings. The novel deserves to reach a wide readership, for reasons not entirely literary. By putting into the mouths of her characters explicit reference to these events, for using the word "genocide," Shafak fell afoul of Article 301 of the Turkish penal code and was tried on a charge of "insulting Turkishness," which carries a prison sentence. It is only a few months since this charge was finally dropped. The case received wide press coverage both in the United States and in Europe and has served as a highly public -- and highly salutary -- example of the lengths to which an insensate nationalism can go in the suppression of elementary freedoms. It has also, of course, acted as an extreme example of the denial that is a central theme of the novel.
However, a novel is first of all a structure of words, and it has to be said that the structure is sometimes shaky in this one. Certainly we British must be on our guard against looking upon the English language as the last of our colonial possessions, quite failing to notice that it was lost long ago under the combined assault of a billion or so people all over the globe who regard it as theirs too, and often use it more vividly and inventively than we do. There is also the risk of being regarded as an inmate of a Home for Aged Pedants who has been let out for the day. All the same . . . "A tortuous moment," what can that be? How can a person's nose be called "blatantly aquiline"? How can you "listen to your Middle Eastern roots"? What does it mean to say that "sex is far more sensual than physical" or to describe a truth as "stringent and stolid"? These perplexities intensify at times to outright rebellion. No, no, no, a person cannot, at one and the same time, be "almost paralyzed" and "wallowing" in something. A gaze of mutual love cannot be called, in the same breath, "a prurient moment."
These are just a few random samples. I am pretty sure Shafak would not write things like this in her native Turkish. Should it matter? Too large a question to deal with here. Irritation at the way the author seems sometimes to muffle up or undermine her own meanings is compounded with regret by the fact that a lot of the time the writing is very good, eloquent, bold, full of shrewd insights, with veins of satire and poetry and fantasy running through it, and turns of phrase that are witty and aphoristic, like the description of the way her family deals with the extremely difficult Auntie Feride: "They had figured out one way of dealing with insanity, and that was to confuse it with a lack of credibility."
The narrative mode most resembles that of a storyteller in the oral tradition, leisurely and digressive and entirely arbitrary, moving from the horrors of the past to the pathologies of the present, through four generations, from Istanbul to San Francisco to Tucson, Ariz. Information is withheld from us until the moment is deemed ripe. Everything comes together finally in a resolution both powerful and moving, but this device of long-delayed information, which is employed throughout, can sometimes put a strain on our belief -- and on our patience. Early in the novel, the unmarried Zeliha, one of the Turkish contingent, announces to the assembled family that she is pregnant. Rage, consternation, abuse, tears. But not one of these five women thinks of asking her who the father is. A natural enough question, surely. We have to wait 300 pages to find out. Two-thirds of the way through the book and 19 years later, we are told quite casually that her daughter Asya has been having an extremely variegated and crowded sex life, going to bed with all and sundry. We have seen her grow up, we have been told all manner of things about her; why has this been kept from us? It is hard to see what purpose is served by these implausibilities of narrative.
One of the great strengths of the novel is the sometimes caustic but always humorously tolerant treatment of the various family members, especially those in Istanbul. A relish for the quirks and eccentricities of character runs through and irradiates the whole book. Auntie Feride, who changes her hair color and style "at each stage of her journey to insanity," so that in the end the doctors, in order to understand her illness, start keeping a hair chart; Auntie Banu, who comes into her own as a clairvoyant and believes that she has a djinn on either shoulder, one wicked and one good; Auntie Zeliha, audacious and independent, the woman of the future.
Recurrent throughout is the theme of past trauma and its effects in the present, the feeling of exile, the rooted sense of injustice, the rage at silence, the longing for a firm identity. Gradually the elements come together: the discussions online with fellow Armenians, the conversation of the strangely disembodied characters at the Café Kundera, the revelations of the evil djinn on Auntie Banu's left shoulder, and, above all, the friendship that develops between two girls from the different families. And we come to see that this need to confront the past, with all its load of error and guilt, is something that concerns not just Turks and Armenians but all of us, and that what is true between races and peoples is also true in individual lives. Throughout the novel, passing from one generation to the next, is a gold brooch in the shape of a pomegranate, a memorial to the unoffending victims and a symbol of continuity and reconciliation.
It is this last word that one keeps coming back to. But there is no reconciliation without justice. Elif Shafak's novel brings the possibility of it a step closer, and we are all in her debt for this.
Copyright 2007, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B008IBGR9G
- Publisher : Penguin (30 August 2012)
- Language : English
- File size : 6122 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 370 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0241986443
- Best Sellers Rank: #11,143 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from India
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Coming back to the book, in my opinion I did find certain parts too streched and immensely detailed but then the beauty does reside in the details after all. The mental trauma of the past, the baggage of knowledge that each character possesses have been described beautifully. The minute details of even the tea glasses just goes on to show how much the author is dedicated in her writing.
All the stories of every character is weaved into a beautiful tapestry of emotions, feelings, love and lots of food. It's a recommended read while you're traveling or just lounging on a weekend.
Shafak is a great writer and the book did expand a bit of my knowledge about Istanbul and its history but that it isn't a novel.
While reading I got the feeling that Shafak wanted to talk about history and wanted to do it through fiction so she invented the characters in thr book. But the family history is so twisted it at times felt incredulous.
Nevertheless, it is a decently written book. Though not Shafaks' best work. So if you are new to her writings don't pick this up. Pick forty rules of love instead.
The book seems too dramatic in parts, and I don't think Mustafa was drawn accurately. Also, the intended mixing of the two families was not to my liking: I would prefer them to not be related.
But then, the book has imageries that are close to my heart, the characters have temperaments I relate to.
The main plot and the initially intriguing 'missing links' are slightly predictable. Nonetheless, the book offers the much needed conversation about the Armenian genocide and state propaganda in general.
Top reviews from other countries
I began with 10 mins and 38 seconds at the start of the year
Followed by Honour
After finishing Honour
I had this sudden urge to Re read the 40 rules of love. When i finished that, the Bastard of Istanbul was her only book that remained in my collection.
This book is not for everyone, ill be honest, it might be slow in patches for some readers and partially uninteresting, but i personally found it engaging and captivating, after the first 50 pages i found myself hooked, unable to put it down. I was yearning to learn how the story unfolded
How the Armenian family from California is linked by history to the Kazanci, an upper middle class Turkish family in Istanbul.
We are reminded about the hatred the Armenians in the diaspora have for the Turks, for too many have lost a loved one during the events of 1915, a forgotten chapter in the history of the modern Turkish republic that wanted to break up with its Ottoman past with the Rise of secular Kemalism.
The story begins with Zaliha Kazanci who is at an abortion clinic hoping to get an abortion, but upon hearing the call to prayer despite being an agnostic has a change of heart. She chooses to have her Bastard daughter, Asya who is the title character of the book. Though given how much attention other characters in the book get also, one wonders if the title was apt.
Fast forward we are transported to Arizona and California. The former where Armanoush, a young Armenian American lives with her American mother and Turkish step father, while visiting her father and grand mother in California regularly.
In order to discover her families Aremenian Istanbul heritage, Armanoush travels to Istanbul and lives with her step father’s families, only for life’s interesting surprises. What i liked was how the writer tried to humanise the Turks and Armenians to one another, and see beyond how tradition dictates. Another mysterious puzzle in the book that remains till the last few chapters, why Asiya refers to her mother as Aunty all the time.
Towards the end of the book, we learn how the 2 families are connected, generations apart, linked through someone who was there in 1915 towards the end of the Ottoman empire. The deep connection of the two families without the knowledge of their deep connection, makes for compelling story telling.
We also learn about the bitter truth behind who the father of the Bastard of Istanbul is.
Family abandonment it seems is a common theme in most of Elif Shafak’s novels
It featured in Honour, 40 rules of love, 10 mins and 38 seconds, and the Bastard of Istanbul.
I hope one day, Elif manages to write a happy book, about family love, unity, and loved ones being there for one another.
This is a book that touches on real life sensitive issues but handles them with dignity and a maturity that only Elif Shafak is capable of. If you get the chance to read this book-please do x