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Last Train to Istanbul
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ARCHIVES > Last Train to Istanbul - spoilers allowed

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Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
Use this thread to discuss the book freely.


Gail (gailifer) | 139 comments I enjoyed learning about the political balancing act that Turkey performed to stay neutral during WWII and about the efforts it went to to protect its citizens regardless of their religion. I thought the plot of how a few people in the Turkish embassy and consulates worked with the French resistance to help transport Turkish Jews and sometimes non-Turkish Jews to safety was well paced. However, although I liked the multiplicity of characters, I found many of them to be not well fleshed out. Many dropped in out of nowhere and others dropped out. I guess that reflects life but it wasn’t very satisfying in regards character development. Overall it was a good read and I can see how the author is very popular.


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message 3: by Inkspill (new)

Inkspill (runinkspill) Gail wrote: "I enjoyed learning about the political balancing act that Turkey performed to stay neutral during WWII and about the efforts it went to to protect its citizens regardless of their religion. I thoug..."

I'm glad you enjoyed it Gail. It's a book I want to read but so far I have not managed to fit it in. Ah, hopefully one day ... :)


Diane Zwang | 95 comments 3.5 rounded up to 4. The last part of the story really had me captivated and pushed it to 4 stars. What I liked about the book was the setting; Turkey and France; the time period, World war II; and religion, Muslim and Judaism. This is only my second book set in Turkey. I enjoyed reading about sisters Sabiha and Selva growing up in Turkey, getting married and starting a family. I equally enjoyed Macit’s journey and learning all the inter-workings of foreign policy and politics during the war.

What I did not like was Selva's and Rafo's reasoning of not returning to Turkey due to family complexity; this was minor compared to what the Germans could do to you. Evelyn's character was portrayed as selfish and naive. A comment about David's time in a concentration camp “I'm sure you'll get over it soon” seemed totally unrealistic to me. I am not sure I needed the psychiatrist and Sabhia's relationship either. Overall I thought this was a romanticized view of the holocaust.

The author's note at the end did reveal she did a fair amount of research for the book. The translator was also well versed in English and Turkish which made for a good translation. Overall I am glad to have read the book.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
I will be reading this one in the next couple of days and your comments made me more excited about it than I was originally.


Celia (cinbread19) | 396 comments Mod
I read this in February for my RLBC (somebody told me that meant REAL LIFE Book Club). The women enjoyed it. One had lived in Turkey and brought a tea set. Turks drink tea in glasses.
I too loved the historical aspects of the book. I do not know much about Turkey, but now understand better their involvement in both WWI and WWII.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
Celia wrote: "I read this in February for my RLBC (somebody told me that meant REAL LIFE Book Club). The women enjoyed it. One had lived in Turkey and brought a tea set. Turks drink tea in glasses.
I too loved ..."


Were the glasses very small, and clear glass with design on them? That is what is used in Morocco.


Celia (cinbread19) | 396 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Celia wrote: "I read this in February for my RLBC (somebody told me that meant REAL LIFE Book Club). The women enjoyed it. One had lived in Turkey and brought a tea set. Turks drink tea in glasses...."
Yes


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
I think they must have very calloused fingers because I found them very hot to hold onto.


Karol Hi - I am late getting started on this book, but I'm about 40% into it (according to my Kindle). I am enjoying the author's style and I am intrigued with the story line so far. I hope to still finish this before the end of the month and then check back in. I had zero idea of where Turkey fit in during WWII so I am finding this very interesting.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
Karol wrote: "Hi - I am late getting started on this book, but I'm about 40% into it (according to my Kindle). I am enjoying the author's style and I am intrigued with the story line so far. I hope to still fini..."

Glad you are getting to it Karol! I will look forward to your review. I was in a similar place to you regarding Turkey and WWII.


Karol I'm a little late - but just returned from an out of town trip. I did finish the book and I liked it a lot . . . 4/5 stars for me. A couple of the things that struck me were not in the main plot, but rather side stories that gave context. Both made me very sad. The first was how David nearly forgot his name after having nearly starved to death in the concentration camp and referred to as a number. When he saw his name in the register he had to think about whether that was who he was. So awful.

The other was the rape of a character on the train to Istanbul on their way to freedom. I imagine such horrible things did happen to some.

In general, I thought the book was rich in detail. The sisterly relationship was laid bare with Sabiha's jealousy of Selva exposed. Macit's obliviousness to the needs of his wife . . . Selva's father's internal conflict between long-held beliefs and his love for his children . . . these made the story seem quite real. The plight of Jews in France during WWII was horrendous. The Turkish government's efforts to save its own citizens along with some non-citizens was valiant.

I can only hope that our government would be equally unrelenting in saving its citizens in similar circumstances.


Celia (cinbread19) | 396 comments Mod
Karol wrote: "I'm a little late - but just returned from an out of town trip. I did finish the book and I liked it a lot . . . 4/5 stars for me. A couple of the things that struck me were not in the main plot, b..."
Very nice summation, Karol. Really appreciate this sharing. 😘


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
Karol wrote: "I'm a little late - but just returned from an out of town trip. I did finish the book and I liked it a lot . . . 4/5 stars for me. A couple of the things that struck me were not in the main plot, b..."

Great comments. You are right those two events were the most emotional for me too. I cannot even imagine David's experiences.


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