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Last Train to Istanbul
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May 2018: Family Drama > Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin - 4 stars

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Booknblues | 6856 comments Last Train to Istanbul by Ayşe Kulin is a family drama set in Turkey and France during World War II. The drama involves two sisters, Sabiha and Selva from a wealthy Muslim family. Sabiha remains in Ankara, Turkey with her husband Macit a career diplomat while Selva who has been disowned lives France with her Jewish husband, Rafael or Rafo.

As one can easily imagine things become ominous for Selva and her family. In this book we learn of the extraordinary measures which Turkey took to protect all of their citizens regardless of religion. Diplomacy was key in remaining neutral, and in protecting the interest of the country and their citizens at home and abroad. I found this fascinating as I was really unaware of Turkey's role in World War II.

The family drama part of this book is good but takes a very long time to lay out and I found myself drifting at the beginning of the book and unwilling to read more than a few pages at a time. Once this book gets rolling and it really does get rolling, I finished it in one fell swoop.

A criticism, I had of the book as did many others is the translation at times is a bit clunky, but if the story is good, I can ignore that. I also found Sabiha a bit over the top in her high drama, but that may be just me.

This is one of the Read the World books from Amazon and given the cost, I feel it is deserving of its high marks.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I have this book on my TBR and I'm hoping to read it this month. I picked this up during the Read the World books time period.
I love Middle Eastern history and I'm always attracted to this setting.
Great review.


message 3: by Kristel (new) - added it

Kristel (kristelh) | 699 comments I picked this book up on World Book Day, glad to see the 4 star rating.


Booknblues | 6856 comments Kristel wrote: "I picked this book up on World Book Day, glad to see the 4 star rating."

I think it merits it, even if the translation is not the best. For me the heroes were the diplomats posted in France. They were amazing and she really did base it on true incidents.


Diane Zwang | 485 comments I also picked this up on world book day. Glad it was enjoyable and I look forward to reading it.


Booknblues | 6856 comments Diane wrote: "I also picked this up on world book day. Glad it was enjoyable and I look forward to reading it."

It is the first one which I have read. I am planning to read the others as well and hope that they are as good.


Jason Oliver | 2098 comments I am in the middle of this. The premise is great. I feel the writing is very elementary. I'm about halfway through. (view spoiler) I'm enjoying it some but I'm not compelled to pick it up. I have to remind myself to read it.


message 8: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments I actually have a DTB copy that has been sitting on my shelves for a long time. I would love to get to it, so maybe this is the nudge that I need.


Booknblues | 6856 comments Jason wrote: "I am in the middle of this. The premise is great. I feel the writing is very elementary. I'm about halfway through. [spoilers removed] I'm enjoying it some but I'm not compelled to pick it up. I ha..."

As I said "The family drama part of this book is good but takes a very long time to lay out and I found myself drifting at the beginning of the book and unwilling to read more than a few pages at a time. ", but from what you are describing, I believe you are beginning to get into the part of the book that moves faster.

I feel like the part of the book set in France is faster moving.

As you said the writing isn't great but I ascribed it to the translation, but who knows. She is a well known and successful author in Turkey.


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