Trish's Reviews > The Oracle of Stamboul

The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas
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's review
Mar 03, 11

bookshelves: asia, fiction, mideast, teen, totally-unexpected
Read from March 02 to 03, 2011

I was completely charmed by this unexpected fairy tale of a novel which tells of a young stowaway in a rug-seller's trunk who travels by boat to Stamboul, the city at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Stamboul is a city shrouded in mystery & incense, colored with bazaars & sunsets, and clamorous with music & many tongues. It may be universal that children, unfettered as they are by knowledge of the world, nourish the seed of hope that they might be discovered to possess unusual skills or talents, or that they be discovered to be gifted, or beautiful beyond compare. I remember that wonderful dream myself; the softness of the velvets surrounding me, the sweetness of the fruits given me, the brillance of the ribbons decorating my clothes and hair. No matter that my life was nothing of the sort.

This novel has the flavor of an old fairy tale but with an indescribable freshness that makes even a world-weary curmudgeon remember days breaking bright and fresh with possibility and fantasy. The descriptions play to the western mind, wreathed as they are in eastern mystery and intrigue. The unencumbered ending was as suprising and unexpected as were the revelations carefully unfolded in preceding chapters. We feel something, and it is wistfulness.

This book is entirely suitable for readers from age 12. It is especially recommended for those who think they are too old for fairy tales.
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Reading Progress

03/02/2011 page 80
26.0% "Am LOVING this charming novel about a youthful savant, but most of all, the descriptions of turn-of-the-20th century Turkey explode with color and beauty."
03/02/2011 page 236
78.0% "Entrancing storytelling. It has the feel of an old-timey story, but with a freshness that is hard to explain."

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Robert (last edited Mar 03, 2011 11:07AM) (new)

Robert Intriago I like your review. I guess it is better than "The Graveyard Book"?


Trish Thanks for the "like." The story is sort of dreamy and doesn't feel as full of threat as did The Graveyard Book. I was constantly asking myself--why is this capturing me so? I concluded that the fantasies were those I created in youth, and losing onself in the bazaars admist the color, scents, and clamour felt more appealing than descending into a tunnel in a graveyard. But both teach lessons. The main character in Oracle is a young girl--in Graveyard a young boy. I guess I identified more with Oracle.


Bill good review trish. it is a fabulous book.


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