Last Train to Istanbul

Last Train to Istanbul


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International bestseller by one of Turkey’s most beloved authors

As the daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas, Selva could win the heart of any man in Ankara. Yet the spirited young beauty only has eyes for Rafael Alfandari, the handsome Jewish son of an esteemed court physician. In defiance of their families, they marry, fleeing to Paris to build a new life.

But when the Nazis invade France, the exiled lovers will learn that nothing—not war, not politics, not even religion—can break the bonds of family. For after they learn that Selva is but one of their fellow citizens trapped in France, a handful of brave Turkish diplomats hatch a plan to spirit the Alfandaris and hundreds of innocents, many of whom are Jewish, to safety. Together, they must traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in a desperate bid for freedom. From Ankara to Paris, Cairo, and Berlin, Last Train to Istanbul is an uplifting tale of love and adventure from Turkey’s beloved bestselling novelist Ayşe Kulin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477807613
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 10/08/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 396
Sales rank: 156,981
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

One of Turkey’s bestselling and most beloved authors, with more than ten million copies of her books sold, Ayşe Kulin is known for captivating stories about human endurance. In addition to penning internationally bestselling novels, she has also worked as a producer, cinematographer, and screenwriter for numerous television shows and films. A mother to four sons, she lives in Istanbul. Last Train to Istanbul, winner of the European Council Jewish Community Best Novel Award and the Premio Roma in Italy, has been translated into twenty-three languages.

About the Translator

John W. Baker spent his formative years living in Istanbul due to his father’s posting, and was educated at the English High School for Boys there. Following in his father’s footsteps, he had a career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London until he took early retirement to live in Turkey again. He is honored to have been the first British writer to have written a play in Turkish, Ihtiras (Passion), which was produced in 2003 by Gencay Gurun and was voted one of the best five new plays that year. The success of Ihtiras led to favorable publicity resulting in Baker being asked by Ayşe Kulin to translate two of her novels, Last Train to Istanbul (Nefes nefese) and Face to Face (Bir gun).

Other translations followed, including Theodora by Radi Dikici, about the Byzantine empress, and most recently, Unfulfilled Promises by Leyla Yildirim, a love story set during the Battle of Gallipoli.

Baker returned to live in England in 2010 and is now happy to be back living in London again and doing the occasional translation.

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Last Train to Istanbul 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
IAmy More than 1 year ago
While I can’t say I enjoyed every minute of this book, I’m glad I read it. The reasons I tend to not watch movies or read books about WWII and the persecution of Jews is because it makes me angry. Angry over what happen to millions of people and that for most of the war the world turned a blind eye to Germany and their attempt to erase an entire people from the earth. I have very strong opinions about Germany and how I feel they should be regarded, I will try to rope them in for this review. This book is simply a beautifully told story the chronicles the actions that several Turkish diplomats took to save not only Jewish Turks, but Jews of many nationalities from the grasp of Hitler. The brave actions of these men are not well-known in the world and I hope with stories like this one, these brave souls can get the recognition they are due. They stood up and did what they could to save lives. They did this without the support of their government and to the risk of not only their lives but those of their families. In retrospect they couldn’t save many, only 35,000 lives from what I can find on the internet, but they did something when so many would do nothing. From what I can tell the author did quite a bit of research and incorporated many of the actual events that took place into her book. Sure she tweaked them a bit to fit her plot, but one of the scenes involving Turks being rounded up and put on cattle cars and a brave diplomat boarding and refusing to leave the train without those passengers really happen. It was such a moving chapter for me and to know someone really did that makes me proud to be married to a Turk. The story moves at a good pace, moved back and forth in time in the beginning which was a little confusing, but that stops once you get into the story. The translation leaves some Turkish words in the text, but it isn’t too distracting or difficult to figure out what they mean. The characters are believable and good examples of different types of Turkish personalities I’ve known. It was an interesting portrayal of the country at this time period. Turkey was a young country, having just rebuilt herself from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. She did not want to risk anything by entering WWII, and we get to see how they worked so very hard to keep Turkey a neutral country. We also get a glimpse of what life was life at home for well to do families in Turkey during WWII. I imagine they were very much like those of Western families of influence. But like Turkey herself, even the main family this story revolves around, is stubborn on both sides. They are willing to cut their noses off to spite their face and in this case it not only cost one family precious time together it almost cost them their lives. My only complaint is that the end felt rushed. There was this whole build up of getting the Turks out of Paris and the reunion of families I would have liked to see more of what happen after their arrival in Turkey. The story made me cry and get angry at time, it also made me cheer and smile. Like I said it is a beautiful story and I hope you give it a try to learn a little about what these Turkish heroes did to save the lives they could.
SusieH5 More than 1 year ago
Brilliant, emotive - a heart-in-mouth read Being a Jew in German-occupied France no longer feels safe and Jews are trying to leave the country. Some Turkish Jews attempt to return to Istanbul - an arduous and dangerous journey. From start to finish this author keeps up the tension. Will they make it? Read this impressive book to find out. Brilliant!