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Bonbon Palace
Elif Shafak
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Bonbon Palace

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  4,415 ratings  ·  376 reviews
Situé dans un immeuble autrefois majestueuse à Istanbul, Le Palais puces raconte l'histoire de Bonbon Palace, construit par noble émigré russe Pavel Antipov pour sa femme Agrippine à la fin du règne des tsars. Il est aujourd'hui malheureusement délabré, infesté de puces, et la maison à dix individus très différents et leurs familles. Elif Shafak nous donne un aperçu à vol ...more
Paperback, 450 pages
Published 2008 by PHEBUS (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  4,415 ratings  ·  376 reviews

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Nov 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very cinematic book with the narrator acting like a camera, each chapter taking place in a different apartment inside this decrepit Instanbul building, plagued by bugs and the overpowering smell of garbage. The novel is a succession of quick chapters sweeping through all the tenants lives times and again, including that of the narrator, a divorced professor with a fondness for raki. Of course, there are surprises throughout the book, and of course at the very end... I was really ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a very fanciful book about many colorful characters living in an apartment block in Istanbul which is plagued with a horrible garbage/stench problem. It almost read like a series of short stories about a bunch of different people who all live in the same place. The story revolves around who keeps dumping garbage in front of the building and how to stop it.

OK I have to say - this book's writing style did not appeal to me at all, but I think that's just my taste; I don't think it was bad
Ova - Excuse My Reading
This is a timeless and amazingly touching story; one of Shafak's earlier and nicer novels.

Set in a multi story building of apartments, with plenty of interesting residents, a must read novel presenting a slice of Istanbul, a bridge between oriental middle east and modern Europe skillfully reflected through characters and their stories.
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was the best book i ever read why?
it's like real life: it has no center story all the events are shallow and not important for other people but the charecters who are living the story
there are no heroes or villans just people
the mood of the book is amazing whenever i read it i feel like i'm sitting in a dark humid basment and it's amazing
elif is the best director i've ever seen the way she takes you from one apartmet to another is amazing like when she uses the TV or so
there're alot of tiny
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is long and fairly slow-paced, so it takes some patience...but the patience pays off. There is amazing detail, and both wry humor and poignancy. The narrative feels somewhat shapeless - the somewhat interconnected stories of people sharing an apartment building, interconnected precisely because of their physical proximity. But as I was reading it dawned on me that this was a very smart kind of allegory on the situation of Turkey, made of so many different groups of people with different yet ...more
Feb 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice beginning and nice ending! The long-gone past and the past stories are nicely written and there is a lot of humor in them. However, I failed to be convinced by the characters residing the Bonbon Palace: although their presentation seemed interesting at first, it then transformed in a too long, unfocused wanna-be novel with a very far-fetched story. I was bored with the stories, I was bored with the long descriptions of bugs and garbage and I didn't like the characters.
The quality of the
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nothing much happens and it's great! The story introduces us into the lives of different people only sharing the fact that they live in the palace. There is the haircutter's salon, the student with the big dog, the old elegant lady, the superstitious mother with her family...and of course there is always Istanbul. The city is personalized and characterized over decades and I felt like getting to know it better (though I've never been there).
I read the book everyday in the tram and managed to
Jan 22, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In my honest opinion, this was a very haphazard novel. My first Elif Shafak read and I must say I was utterly disappointed. From other reviews, I gather that two of her other works are much better than what I got my hands on. No one suggested this to me nor did I have the slightest idea, beforehand, what I was getting into. Feeling adventurous, I picked this up from my local bookstore and read it in way too many interludes than I, myself would have liked. I've come to realise the fact that this ...more
Julia Carlton
3.4 stars
Faten Eassa
Read a quarter, so far boring, hope it gets better
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-eastern
I was so disappointed by this book, mainly because it started out so marvelously. So marvelously in fact, that I was actually inspired enough to get out a pen and mark the numerous beautiful passages. The language was gorgeous and uniquely descriptive. So sad then when The Flea Palace became any other book. The last place I loved this book was on p. 169. There are 444 pages. I'll still read her other books, as she is such an acclaimed author and I'd like to know why, but I wouldn't say this is ...more
Salam Ch
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
couldn't finish it, gave up at page 277 !!!
found nothing new in this book to add. maybe it s enough to read only 2 books for Elif Shafak, the 40 rules of love it s a must and another one that s it !!!
this one was repetetive in style of writing , overwhelmed by descriptions , wordy and the characters are so fancy rather cartoonised which made it so unreal and hard to connect with !!!!
Mar 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book one star only ! I found it to be so boring honestly. Even though I like Elif Shafak I just found this book to be so boring everything dragged along through pages and pages. it took me forever to finish this book.
Paras Abbasi
A disappointment for an Elif Shafak book.
Dec 29, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: won-t-read
Half way through, it is very slow and descriptive. There is no plot with too many details, you lose track of the characters
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Élif Shafak creates a gallery of lively characters living in an old building in the heart of Istanbul. Through their personal stories and tragedies, we catch a glimpse of the beauty and the true ugliness of this city, and more importantly what it is like to be turkish. A moving tangle of humanities that will break your heart.
Dana Moraru
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really read with great pleasure the stories. It was an intricate and very interesting mixture of characters, lives and loves. It was so good to realize that everything could be so real, so simply and so complicate in the same time.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have read many reviews from readers complaining about the structure of the book. Being organized on chapters around characters can make you lose track of who is who, they say. I suppose these readers dislike A Game of Thrones then as well.

Personally, I loved it. This kind of structure allows you, as a reader, to get to know characters better and it allows more stories to take place at the same time. The beauty of it is also when the stories intertwine! I love how the tone of the author
The French writer Georges Perec in his "La vie, mode d'emploi" once described all the inhabitants of a building (in Paris). Elif Shafak does the same, but in a much more superficial way (without the ingenious-maniacal math-phobia of Perec) and located in Istanbul. Some pieces are pretty funny (the barbershop scenes for instance), and the relations between the inhabitants intriguing to follow, but I had the impression to read a kind of film scenario with no real storyline; the relatively ...more
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-hint-of-spice
In The Flea Palace we, as readers, are transformed into curious observers getting the chance to peek at the lives of the people living in Bonbon Palace - just enough to make an idea of what's going on at a certain point in time, before moving on to the next apartment and the next set of characters. As we keep observing, we, at times, get surprised by some turn in perspective, by characters' confessions or little secrets.

Though with a promising start, the action seems to lack depth somewhat
Andra Staicu
The book has a lot of beautiful ideas in it. In regard to the writing style Elif is brilliant as always. I also liked the intricate way of putting the action into place, like a puzzle, it didn't bother me at all.
But the book became darker and darker, almost all the characters are neurotic, garbage everywhere, tons of bugs, smells and broken lifes. Everybody suffers in this book. There is a little hope for a small part of the characters to save themselves in the end, but the vast majority is in
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was hard to get into. Between the endless lists of things and sentences that run on for pages, however, rises a well-written story of colorful characters who all live in one apartment building. I read for pleasure. What ultimately determines for me whether or not I will finish a sometimes tedious book is whether I know and like the characters, and whether or not I care what happens to them. I had to finish this book, because I found that indeed I did care about the characters. I ...more
Glenna Barlow
having looked for this book in stores for over a year, i was pretty excited to finally get to read it. i loved 'the bastard of istanbul' but i was a little disappointed with this offering. i found it to be rather hard to get into. these types of stories (with multiple storylines) are more compelling as you get to the inter connections between the characters, and that really didn't happen until towards the end of the novel.
Awaisha Inayat
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read, favorites
Such an excellent work on social justice, with every story distinguished by the psychological depth of the characters. More the character evolves in the story, more you sympathize with their difficulties. It's like understanding every single being from a certain distance.

In short, Elif Shafak, never ceases to amaze me!

Dana Al Khatib
I tried reading this book 3 years ago but couldn't get myself to get past the first 80 pages. I re-read it now and managed to finish it with a great deal of patience.
Unlike Elif's great writings, this is a book written by her under abnormal circumstances (inside prison), and that is why I will not say I am disappointed. I still look forward to reading all her writings.
Lyubov Panayotova
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found it amusing, moving, matching to some Bulgarian traditional way of thinking and doing things.
The start was a bit confusing but progressing every chapter made it more and more interesting.
I finally finished The Flea Palace by Elif Shafak, emphasis on the ‘finally’. I’m a huge fan of Shafak’s work, and now I can say that I have read all of her books and short stories published/translated in English. As I have mentioned myriad times previously, the style and intentions of Shafak’s works are noticeably different from other modern novels; she is dauntless when it comes to tackling and grappling with prominent social issues (identity, religion, cultural heritage, ethnicity, gender, ...more
Andreea Bitiusca
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, it seems to be a collection of singular stories about the people who live in the same building. But in the same way neighbours run into each other on the hall when leaving or entering their apartments, their life stories meet as well. The author has a very clever way of showing the simultaneous present in which her characters live in: e.g. Cemal' shoutings towards the woman who keeps throwing her garbage into their garden are also heard by the narrator who was on the balcony at that ...more
Ahlam Alzidjali
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels

Shortlisted for the 2005 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, Elif Shafak's The Flea Palace is a moving and highly original novel about a group of individuals who live in the same building and who together become embroiled in a mystery.
By turns comic and tragic, The Flea Palace is an outstandingly original novel driven by an overriding sense of social justice.
Bonbon Palace was once a stately apartment block in Istanbul. Now it is a sadly dilapidated home to ten wildly different individuals and
Saadia Refaqat
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flea Palace is the third book I have read in succession first two being Forty Rules of Love and Honor. To me it appears Elif writing style is still evolving. The first two books were contained in a simple narrative yet gripping story. In this one author has definitely moved away from her old, simple writing style. Flea Palace is story about lives of eight different people who are occupants of once stately apartment building, Bonbon Palace. This however is not a book containing separate short ...more
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Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into fifty languages. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's ...more
“The child had indeed shut up but all the questions that had accumulated on his tongue circulated in his mouth, moved through the passages of his nose and climbed up from there to tickle into his teardrop ducts, so in his moss green pupils, curious, insistent, accusing sparks of questions continued to light up and fade away like fireflies flitting about on summer nights.” 7 likes
“Окръжността не е нито хоризонтална, нито вертикална. Нито е край, нито е начало. Можете да влезете в окръжността отвсякъде, стига да не сметнете мястото за начало. Няма начална точка, няма край. Откъдето и да тръгнете, винаги има минало. Лично аз не знаех, но чух от един мъдър човек, че навремето, когато кофите за смет в Истанбул били кръгли и с тенекиени капаци, младежите се забавлявали с една игра. Събирали се определен брой момчета и момичета – нито прекалено много, нито пък малко, а точно колкото е необходимо и непременно четно число.

Върху кръглия тенекиен капак на кофата за боклук предварително означавали четири различни посоки. И за да отговорят на въпроса кога, във всяка посока изписвали с тебешир четири различни думи: Веднага – Утре – Много скоро – Никога. Бързо завъртали капака с помощта на дръжката по средата и играчът, който е на ред, светкавично слагал пръста си в една точка и спирал кръга. Всеки участник минавал по веднъж през този етап и така откривал за себе си кое точно е неговото време.

При втория тур пишели четири отговора на въпроса на кого така, че да се паднат равномерно в средата на четирите посоки: На мен – На моята любов – На най-добрия ми приятел – На всички нас. После пак завъртали тенекиения капак, отново един по един поставяли пръста си в една точка и кръгът спирал. При третото завъртане идвал ред на отговора на въпроса какво ще стане. За да бъде справедливо, в оставащите осем празни места написвали четири хубави и четири лоши думи: Любов, Брак, Щастие, Богатство, Болест, Раздяла, Катастрофа, Смърт.

Отново завъртали капака и най-после достигали до дългоочакваните отговори на въпроса кога на кого какво ще се случи: На мен – Богатство – Много скоро – На любимия ми – Щастие – Утре – На най-добрия ми приятел – Брак – Веднага – На всички ни – Раздяла – Никога… Не е трудно да започнеш. Като направя някои дребни промени в начина, по който се играе, мога да използвам тази идея. Първо, трябва да намеря времето на разказа: Вчера – Днес – Утре – В безкрайността.

След това едно по едно трябва да спомена местата, които са свързани с историята: Мястото, на което дойдох – Мястото, на което се намирам – Мястото, на което отивам – Никое място. И така, идва ред на играчите: Аз – Един от нас – Всички ние – Нито един от нас. Накрая, без да нарушавам равновесието четири по четири, трябва да подредя вероятните резултати в останалите празни места. И по този начин, ако завъртя четири поредни пъти кръглия тенекиен капак на кофата за боклук, ще успея да направя едно хубаво изречение, с което да започна: „През пролетта на 2002 г. в Истанбул един от нас умря без време и линията се затвори в пълен кръг.”
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