The Oracle of Stamboul
An elegantly crafted, utterly enchanting debut novel set in a mystical, exotic world, in which a gifted young girl charms a sultan and changes the course of an empire's history
Late in the summer of 1877, a flock of purple-and-white hoopoes suddenly appears over the town of Constanta on the Black Sea, and Eleonora Cohen is ushered into the world by a mysterious pair o...more
The author has said that he invented that series. It does not really exist. He was quoted o…moreNo, her favorite series of books is called "The Hourglass."
The author has said that he invented that series. It does not really exist. He was quoted on a blog:
"It’s invented. And it is one of my favorite parts of the novel. There’s something so magical about a piece of art that exists only within a piece of art. Works like that have a magic hologram quality to them, which is fun in a Borgesian kind of way. It’s also about as close as a work of art can come to perfection, existing only as a reflection of something else."(less)
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I read this years ago. I still own a copy of the book.
It was sooooo special to me and my daughters.
It’s an adult book - but young girls would love reading it - or having it read to them.
My tiny review from years ago:
I don't see anybody writing likes this today. Its my 'FAVORITE' novel of the year ----a very special 'gem' of a story.
A few things were unclear to me, including Eleonora's native tongue. I couldn't tell wh ...more
If you enjoy reading for its unique possibilities — mellifluous language, vivid imagery, immersion in places and circumstances you might never experience — then you’ll love this book. From the very first page, The Oracle of Stamboul will draw you relentlessly into the world of the Ottoman Empire in its twilight years of the 1880s. You’ll meet an extraordinary child, Eleanora Cohen, and you’ll be present with her from the violence of her birth in Rumania through her ninth y ...more
Eleanora Cohen is born to Yakob Cohen on a tra ...more
The Reverend raised his glass in toast.
'To Oriental colour. And old friends. Welcome to Stamboul.'
This is the kind of book ...more
I didn't find the main character very believable as an eight-year-old girl, even as an exceptionally gifted one, and none of the other characters really held any interest for me. I would find myself wondering about their ...more
As promised FBC Rv below:
INTRODUCTION: The Oracle of Stam ...more
I found the ending to be unsatisfying. The author could have tied up a few loose ends to finalize t ...more
I enjoyed it but it doesn't really feel all that Turkish, in the end. You could have picked Eleanor up and dropped her into any exotic location with a sultan/king/emperor and the story could have been the same. I think the author wrote the book to get to write Istanbul but it wasn't essential for the story somehow.
And while it isn't classified YA, it had that f ...more
In the year 1877, Eleonora Cohen was ushered into the magnificent and opulent world of the Ottoman Empire to the smell of witch hazel, the sound of thunderous hoof-beats from Russian invaders, the flapping of wings from flocks of mysterious birds, and to the bright flashes of lightening striking. The Tartar midwives holding her up to the sky said she was the long awaited Oracle from a prophecy dictated long ago a by a king upon his deathbed. He foretold there would be a baby g ...more
The dialogue was mechanical and often annoying. Mr. Lukas has a habit of describing a situation, then givin ...more
Michael David Lukas created some interesting characters for this book. They were well developed, and the main character, Eleonora, kinda reminded ...more
Perhaps that is not a fair criticism of a book wherein a child is born amidst signs and portents, discovers that she has mental abilities beyond her years, runs away from home in a steamer trunk, buries ...more
a book transports me to a different time and place with people I want to spend time with,
I turn the final page satisfied but yet long for more, and
I immediately want to share the experience with a friend.
The book is wonderful, the story enchanting, and I'm convinced this book is a winner. It is one that I personally will provide copies to our public and the school libraries.
But this time, I'd like to share a bit more. Although I normally don't post about t ...more
To my siblings -
Adam and Anna, Coleman and Allison -
for reminding me what matters;
and to Hayley,
Acknowledgements at the front; what a gentleman.
'Ah, Stamboul! Of all the names that can enchant me, this one re,mains the most magical.' Pierre Loti.
Opening: Eleonora Cohen came into this world on a Thursday, late in the summer of 1877. Those who rose early that morning would recall noticing a flock of purple-and-white hoopoes circling above the harbour, loop ...more
Original review with additional historical bits at Layers of Thought.
A poetic page turning historical début with an unusual and precocious young girl as the main character. All set in an exotic, magical, yet politically volatile country and time.
About: When Eleanor Cohen is born there are auspicious signs that she is not your normal child. She is to be a prodigy with gifts of memory, languages, extreme intelligence and something which is just a tad mystical. Set in the late 18 ...more
At times, I thought that maybe the author of this book might be a foreigner, because it seemed like a few of the human behaviors were a little different from what one might expect in the US. For example, the Sultan never asks if Eleonora would mind reading some things for him, he simply tells her to, and ...more
The setting is an era that I'm unfamiliar with but find wholly appealing -- 19th century Turkey -- and Lukas offers gorgeous passages that place the reader squarely in Stamboul. There's international intrigue and a host of chara ...more
While to book is simple, for there is not much there except a bit of intrigue and the precociousness of our heroine, Eleanora, there was a sense of peace to this tale. Eleanora only a girl of eight ha ...more
Which is why I really wish I could give this first novel a rating higher than 3 stars. The book is no doub ...more