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”, “Rose water”, “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, with 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 🙂