Review: The Bastard of Istanbul

The Bastard of Istanbul
The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a book I noticed was on a banned book list and ended up being one of two I started during ALA’s Banned Books Week. The author, Elif Şafak, was sued by a Turkey prosecutor for “insulting Turkishness” by writing about Armenian genocide as part of the fall of the Ottoman Empire in this novel. She probably expected this reaction as one minor character faced a prison sentence for having drawn a government official as a penguin.

Turkey bridging Europe and Asia has elements of both in its culture. Şafak demonstrates this contradiction through her tale by contrasting American and Muslim cultural views.

In approaching the climax I hoped for a surprise that it would turn out as something else. But, no, it completely deflated me as low as the hardest of books I have ever read.

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