Chrissie's Reviews > The Bastard of Istanbul

The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak
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Jun 04, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: hf, kirkus, turkey, armenia, favorites
Read in June, 2008

The lines are beautiful.
The humor is priceless.
The questions are numerous.
One example being: what is the value of truth?
Is truth always to be sought, AT ALL COSTS?
because: "the past is anything but bygone."

and as Elif Shafak also so eloquently speaks:

"Once there was. Once there wasn't. God's creatures were as plentiful as grains and talking too much was a sin, for you could tell what you shouldn't remember and you could remember what you shouldn't tell."

The humor - I adored the depiction of French cuisine at a restaurant where each plate was composed as a known work of art. Could you dig into a Chagall, Magritte or a Mogdigliani portrait?

As Asya describes her family, "this must be a nut-house". But aren't we all nuts?
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Reading Progress


Comments (showing 1-35 of 35) (35 new)

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message 1: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Omg the first page of this looks so wonderful. I wanted to laugh right away! I may have to chase this one up my list!


message 2: by Chrissie (last edited Jul 04, 2013 10:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chrissie I think yo have to just let your feelings grab you. If you start a book and love it go for it.

Thanks, Laura!


message 3: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Thank you. I really liked your review. :)


message 4: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Wonderful review! Will have to read this one. I have his honorhere but don't know when I will get to it.


message 5: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Do you recommend this author as a whole, Chrissie? Have you read any of his others?


message 6: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Yes, I have never read anything by him, so I would like to know that too.


Chrissie I have only read one of Elif's books. None are available from either Audible or Downpour.


message 8: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura :( ok.


message 9: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Three of his, including this one, are available on US Audible. They really do have to fix this. !!


Chrissie I agree!


message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara This sounds quite different!


Chrissie It is special! It is all in the writing.


message 13: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura haha, thanks Simran!


Aijazz Good review. I would recommend her "Forty rules of love". It's an excellent piece of writing. One is the rare books I will call classics of the modern age.


Chrissie Thank you, Aijaz. I have not followed it up since it is composed of several stories and different time periods. Such is not what I usually enjoy.


Aijazz It does look as if there are several stories in it but as you progress you will find only one theme running through a single story. Though the story runs concurrently between two different periods and in two different countries divided by 10 centuries yet is beautifully beaded together to be one. It's about an effort to revive hope in a period where there is no hope. 12th and 21st centuries have something in common with one difference. There was Rumi at that time and not now!


Chrissie Thanks for your view.


message 18: by Vessey (last edited Nov 04, 2014 04:17AM) (new)

Vessey Great review. I've been thinking of trying somehing of hers for some time, but I had doubts. I will definitely give it a try now. :)


Chrissie Vesy, good luck. I cannot say that much more since I read the book so long ago.


Chrissie Vesy, if you want more history about the Turkish/Armenian conflict check out my Armenia shelf. I would not say that this one covers the conflict best....but it is a good place to start.


message 21: by Vessey (new)

Vessey I will check it. Thank you very much! :)


Chrissie Vesy, Armenian Golgotha in my view was the very best, but it is non-fiction. It is the most comprehensive.


message 23: by Vessey (new)

Vessey I'm not used to read non-fiction, but that doesn't mean I won't like it. I'll look for it. Thank you, Chrissie! :)


Chrissie Then it is better to look at the list, and pick out those you think are best. So hard to pick books for other people.


message 25: by Vessey (new)

Vessey Actually, it's good when people with different tastes communicate. Thus they can discover that they can like things which they haven't credited a lot until now. I wasn't even into fantasy (favorite genre now) until I met a friend some years ago. :)


message 26: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Amen. I don't think I'd like historical fiction if it weren't for Chrissie. Very true.


message 27: by Chrissie (last edited Nov 04, 2014 10:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chrissie I try all sorts of different genre but my favorite remains "historical biographies", that is those books that follow a real person through historical events. I want to know how historical event affect people. This makes history into something I can relate to. I also like historical fiction based on real people's lives. Still, we are in the hands of the author. I like good writers, first and foremost.


message 28: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I had to go in and capitalize the B in Bastard. I just couldn't take it anymore. Chrissie, I'd like to read a book about Teddy Roosevelt that will give me a good feeling for his political beliefs. He was a conservative at the time, but my feeling is that people with his beliefs are now what the Democratic Party has become, and the Republicans now are just so far to the right that no one understands them. I know you liked that trilogy about him, but I'm not looking to read three bricks at the moment. I just don't know if I would be able to stay with all three right now. I was wondering if you knew of a book about him that focuses mainly on his presidency.


Chrissie It would be Theodore Rex, but you know how I feel about starting in the middle. STILL that is me, not you, and you have to know best what fits what you are looking for!

when you know about Teddy, then you will understand Lindbergh's background too. But here it was not Teddy's presidency that was the most important. You see, here is another reason why I would read all three books. I KNOW I am hopeless. I can only tell you how I think.

Your first sentence confuses me. Were you reading The Bastard of Istanbul and had to give it up?

I don't really understand what you are saying about the political situation right now in the US, when you say "no one understands them.", because it was the Republican party in the last election that got the largest support. IF no one understands them, why are so many voting Republican? OR are you saying they voted Republican, but do not understand what the party stands for? Talking on the internet is hard.


message 30: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura No, I was just looking at the preview, on Amazon, I guess. Thanks for the info re: TR. I prob should read all three, but I wonder how realistic that is. You only liked the audio for the first one, right?

In other news, Ashley has a job interview tomorrow morning for a job she has a good shot at. Hoping she gets it!


Chrissie My fingers are crossed for Ashley!!!!

Eric and family are coming up from Göteborg this weekend so I'm really looking forward to it.He will be 40 - OMG I am getting old!!!! We had snow this morning, which I guess isn't good for the driving but still I love it. Can't wait to see Leah and Wilfred. But we have to keep his dog and our dog separated b/c Louis doesn't like Oscar.

That is correct, the first book had the best narration, and that is the book you don't want to read!


message 32: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Chrissie wrote: "It would be Theodore Rex, but you know how I feel about starting in the middle. STILL that is me, not you, and you have to know best what fits what you are looking for!

when you know ..."


The last paragraph of your comment didn't show up in the GR app I was using on my phone. Argh. Your confusion makes sense.

I probably should put this in a PM, but I'm feeling lazy, so I'll mark it with a spoiler tag instead. This is my opinion and not everyone will agree, but that's okay too. (view spoiler)


message 33: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Chrissie wrote: "My fingers are crossed for Ashley!!!!

Eric and family are coming up from Göteborg this weekend so I'm really looking forward to it.He will be 40 - OMG I am getting old!!!! We had snow this morning..."


Thanks, Chrissie!

Aww, that sounds so nice. Have fun with them. I'm so glad they're coming for a visit. And the snow sounds perfect too. Do you still take your walks, even in the snow?


Chrissie Thanks for trying to explain what you meant about the Republican and Democrat parties, but living in Europe I am not informed of what you are speaking of. I don't know a thing about Limbaugh. just hope the book pleases you. shen you know who TR was you will then also get a better appreciation of Lindbergh, which I also recommend.

Oh of course, we walk in the snow - all winter. Every morning we walk for at least 1 hour. You just need proper clothes. I am worried now it will melt and turn into icy slush.


message 35: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura That's great. Walking every morning for an hour. :))


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