The Bastard Of Istanbul
Author: Elif Shafak
9780241972908 | PB | pp. 363 | 2015 | Penguin Random House UK
The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak is primarily about three interconnected 21st-century families who are separated after the 1915 massacre of Armenians by the Turks in Turkey.
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The Bastard of Istanbul is a tale of an extraordinary family curse and was longlisted for the 2008 Orange Fiction Prize.
One rainy afternoon in Istanbul, a woman walks into a doctor’s surgery. ‘I need to have an abortion’, she announces. She is nineteen years old and unmarried. What happens that afternoon will change her life.
Twenty years later, Asya Kazanci lives with her extended family in Istanbul. All the Kanzanci men die early, victims of a mysterious family curse, so this is a household of women. Among them are Asya’s beautiful, rebellious mother Zeliha, her clairvoyant aunt Banu and their eccentric sister Feride, as well as the ageing Petit Ma. They are ruled over by the iron will of matriarch Gulsum.
Into the midst of this madhouse comes Asya’s determined American cousin Armanoush, who unknowingly brings with her long-hidden family secrets inextricably linked to Turkey’s turbulent past.
A beautiful, entangled tale of a Turkish and Armenian family coming to terms with their past, rooted in the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century, and set mostly in a real, beautiful and gritty Istanbul. It’s a passionate story told with whimsy, humor and beauty in its portrayal of both love and unimaginable suffering.
Penguin Random House UK
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