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The Bastard of Istanbul
     

The Bastard of Istanbul

3.5 26
by Elif Shafak
 

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Populated with vibrant characters, The Bastard of Istanbul is the story of two families, one Turkish and one Armenian American, and their struggle to forge their unique identities against the backdrop of Turkey's violent history. Filled with humor and understanding, this exuberant, dramatic novel is about memory and forgetting, about the tension between the

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The Bastard of Istanbul 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up randomly at B&N, a bit curious given the title. Istanbul has always been on the list of places I want to travel to. Reading this book, I felt like I was there. The family bond that you read is so touching. The passion these people are about their ancestors and culture is amazing. All the characters in this book are so realistic. I have already recommended this book to several people. This book hit my itch to read a book culturally rich. I have put Istanbul on the top of my list and will travel there as soon as its possible. I will definitely read another book from this author!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I always wanted to travel to Istanbul, and the descriptions of the sisters living in that city are fascinating. The story behind Armanoush's Armenian family is sad, yet hopeful. The plot moved quickly, and the ending is quite a surprise. It's got a little bit of romance, mystery, suspense and historical significance. What a great read this was. I highly, highly recommend this to all. I'm surprised it's not on the bestseller list. Oh, and kudos for the author who had the guts to write this as a Turkish woman about the Armenian genocide. I'm glad she didn't end up in jail. So, folks, take advantage of your freedom to read 'anything' and buy this book, or check it out of the library.
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Graziuke More than 1 year ago
I read this book in less than a week. So far it's the best Elif Shafak's book I have read. I like the way she blends fiction, history and culture all together. It gave me some insight about my bf's cultural background.
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silencedogoodreturns More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. It was my first read of Ms Shafaks' work, having read recommendations from Paul Theroux in his lastest book. I am happy to say I enjoyed this one far more than I did one by her national colleague, Orhan Pamuk. If you're sampling Turkish writers, this is a good place to start. A bit of a chick flick, but the writing carries you along since it is a great story, thoughtfully told.
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Kind of slow but good ending.
regina77004 More than 1 year ago
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.
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