Customer Reviews for

The Bastard of Istanbul

Average Rating 3.5
( 26 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 review with 1 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted October 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Beware: The Story is Not True to Its Billing

    It is so hard to rate this book because I felt differently about different parts of the book:

    Beginning (Ch 1-5) 2 Stars
    Middle (Ch 6 - 14) 4 Stars
    End (Ch 14-18) 1 Star

    The Bastard of Istanbul is billed as a story of two families, one Armenian and one Turk, tied together by a secret related to the 1915 Armeian deportation and massacre. This portion of the story is very good. Unfortunately, this is a minor part of the story wtih the crux being disgusting and so unrelated to promising premise that you have to wonder if Shafak is simply going for shock value. The story is really about secrets and the destruction of those lies needed to keep that secret .

    The Kazanci family from Istanbul is a family with a curse. The men in the family die young. In current day Istanbul four generations of women live together with the exception of one brother who was sent to America in an attempt to protect him from the curse. Each of these women differ vastly in personality. Petit Ma is the gentle matriarch who now suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. Mother Gulsum is akin to Ivan the Terrible. Oldest sister Banu the clairvoyant, Sister Cevriye high school history teacher, Sister Feride is dealing with mental illness resulting in paranoia, rebel Zeliha, and the daughter she bore out of wedlock, Asya co-exist despite their vast differences.

    Brother Mustafa marries an American girl named Rose. Rose is a divorced mother of one daughter, Amy (Armanoush). Armanoush's father's family is Armenian and never approved of the American marriage with an Odar. The Armenian famiy are surivivors of the 1915 genocide. Originally Rose dates Mustafa seeking revenge on her ex Armenian in-laws but gradually a sincere love is formed. Armanoush, struggling with her conflicting cultural pasts, secretly travels to Istanbul to stay with her step-father's family to learn more of her Armenian heritage. The visit brings to light a litany of secrets impacting both families.

    Possible Spoiler:

    Late in the book we learn that Asya is not the result of her mother's rebelious streak but rather a very oddly constructed rape. The choice for the perpetrator is disgusting and doesn't add anything to the story. It is very disappointing that Shafak took the story in that direction and really ruined the book for me personally.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2011

    Not good...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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