Elif Shafak

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The Bastard of Istanbul

Longlisted for Orange Fiction Prize
book | Fiction | 2007
World → Viking

Turkish Title: Baba ve Pic

As an Armenian American living in San Francisco, Armanoush feels like part of her identity is missing and that she must make a journey back to the past, to Turkey, in order to start living her life. Asya is a nineteen-year-old woman living in an extended all-female household in Istanbul who loves Johnny Cash and the French existentialists.

The Bastard of Istanbul tells the story of their two families-and a secret connection linking them to a violent event in the history of their homeland. Filled with humor and understanding, this exuberant, dramatic novel is about memory and forgetting, about the need to examine the past and the desire to erase it, and about Turkey itself.

Rights

Daisy Meyrick manages the translation rights for The Bastard of Istanbul

Audio Rights

Available

The audio rights are handled by Alice Lutyens.

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Reviews

Even in her rare moments of being two-dimensional, Elif Shafak preserves a penchant to confuse. Her characters spend their time popping out of categories. They change their country, their name, their politics, their sex, and in one of her earlier novels, even their century. Nothing is quite as solid as it appears to be. Andrew Finkel

Shafak weaves an intricate and vibrant saga of repression and freedom, cultural clashes and convergences, pragmatism and mysticism, and crimes and retribution, subtly revealing just how inextricably entwined we all are, whatever our heritage or beliefs. Donna Seaman
Booklist (starred review)
Full Review

An entertaining and insightful ensemble novel, one that posits the universality of family, culture and coincidence. Publishers Weekly
Full Review

Zesty, imaginative... A Turkish version of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. USA Today

Vivid and entertaining... This wonderful new novel carried me away. And reality was different when I returned. Chicago Tribune

Shafak's writing is seductive... The Bastard of Istanbul portrays family as more than merely a function of genetics and fate, folding together history and fiction, the personal and the political into a thing of beauty. Elle

The characters in The Bastard of Istanbul are so alive they leap off the page to sit beside you on the couch. What women!... This is the rare family saga that understands the value of both modernity and tradition. Susan Isaacs

A saucy, witty, dramatic, and affecting tale in the spirit of novels by Amy Tan, Julia Alvarez, and Bharati Mukherjee should prove irresistible to readers... A grandly emphatic and spellbinding story. New York Newsday

A deftly spun tale of two families who are burdened by dark secrets and historical tragedies rooted in a common Istanbul past. The Independent

An astonishingly rich and lively story of an Istanbul family... Handled with an enchantigly light touch. Kirkus Reviews

Wonderfully magical, incredible, breathtaking... Will have you gasping with disbelief in the last few pages. Sunday Express

What a pleasure... The Times