Even if Romania on the map is very close to Turkey, I have never been to Istanbul or anywhere close for that matter. I have always wanted to but it never happened (let’s say the stars did not align for this until now 🙂 ). That is, until recently, when I have read a book that managed to transport me in that fascinating, colorful, full of noise city.
The book I’m talking about is Elif Shafak‘s “The Bastard of Istanbul“, a book that managed to catch and maintain my attention (a very hard thing to do, for the record) from the first to the last page.
I loved the way the book transported me from the first page in the hectic city of Istanbul, I loved the way Elif Shafak makes you smell and taste the oriental flavors with each chapter (each of which has an inspired title such as “Cinnamon”, “Sugar”, “Rosewater”, “Roasted almonds” and so on).
I loved all the strong-willed women she has created (the brave Zeliha who wears very short skirts, has a bright piercing in her nose, and moreover decides to bring to life a bastard in the judgmental world she lives in; the stubborn Asya, the teenager upset with the world and with the lack of a father figure in her life; the very curious Armanoush, who takes on the adventure of her life coming from the US to Turkey in order to learn more about her family’s past), all their rules and beliefs, women who don’t try to fit only because this is expected from them.
It is a tangled story that reveals itself with each turned page making you understand everything a bit better, exposing the lives of several characters linked to each other in mysterious ways.
What I liked most about it is that I could also learn a little bit of history, since the writer talks about the Armenian Genocide from 1915 – 1917 wrapped in a breathtaking story, transmitting a lot of intense feelings.
One of my favorite quotes, which I can totally identify is: “You see, unlike in the movies, there is no THE END sign flashing at the end of books. When I’ve read a book, I don’t feel like I’ve finished anything. So I start a new one.”
Can you relate? I am sure there are a lot of diverse opinions out there, do let me know what you think about Elif Shafak’s book 🙂