Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed author of The Bastard of Istanbul, a colorful, magical tale set during the height of the Ottoman Empire
In her latest novel, Turkeys preeminent female writer spins an epic tale spanning nearly a century in the life of the Ottoman Empire. In 1540, twelve-year-old Jahan arrives in Istanbul. As an animal tamer in the sultans menagerie, he looks after the exceptionally smart elephant Chota and
befriends (and falls for) the sultans beautiful daughter, Princess Mihrimah. A palace education leads Jahan to Mimar Sinan, the empires chief architect, who takes Jahan under his wing as they construct (with Chotas help) some of the most magnificent buildings in history. Yet even as they
build Sinans triumphant masterpiecesthe incredible Suleymaniye and Selimiye mosquesdangerous undercurrents begin to emerge, with jealousy erupting among
Sinans four apprentices.
A memorable story of artistic freedom, creativity, and the clash between science and fundamentalism, Shafaks intricate novel brims with vibrant characters, intriguing adventure, and the lavish backdrop of the Ottoman court, where love and loyalty are no match for raw power.
"Zesty, imaginative . . . A Turkish version of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club
"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."
"[This] 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 (cover)
"Beautifully imagined . . . this wonderful new novel carried me away. And reality was different when I returned."
Praise for Honor
“Rich and wide as the Euphrates river along whose banks it begins and ends, Elif Shafak has woven with masterful care and compassion one immigrant family's heartbreaking story - a story nurtured in the terrible silences between men and women trying to grow within ancient ways, all the while growing past them. I loved this book.” —Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress
“Fascinating and gripping…a wonderful novel.” —Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister
“A powerful book; thoughtful, provoking, and compassionate.” —Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
“Calls to mind The Color Purple in its fierceness of its engagement with male violence and its determination to see its characters to a better place. But Shafak is closer to Isabel Allende in spirit, confidence, and charm. Her portrayal of Muslim cultures, both traditional and globalizing, is as hopeful as it is politically sophisticated.” —The Guardian
“Shafak is an unflinching writer…this is vivid storytelling…a gripping exploration of the darkest aspects of faith and love.” —The Telegraph
“This is an extraordinarily skillfully crafted and ambitious narrative, with Shakespearian twists and turns, omens and enigmas, prophecies and destinies fulfilled …Shafak joins writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Zadie Smith, Monica Ali…who offer us fictional glimpses of Londons Others.” —The Independent
“[A] stunning novel…exotic, evocative and utterly gripping.” —The Times
Praise from England for The Architects Apprentice
by Elif Shafak
“Architecture is a powerful motif in Elif Shafaks intricate, multilayered new novel, which excels both in its resplendent details and grand design. . .This edifying, emotionally forceful novel shows how hate and envy destroy, and how love might build the world anew.”—The Observer
“Shafaks novel is a vigorous evocation of the Ottoman empire at the height of its power. . .a fascinating work in which building a fulfilling life can be as difficult as creating one of Sinans masterpieces.”—The Sunday Times
“At once epic and comic, fantastical and realistic. . .like all good stories, it conveys deeper meanings about human experience. . .The Architects Apprentice explores issues of power and bigotry, creativity and freedom, but is overarching theme is love. . .a carefully crafted work of imagination that both reveals and conceals its skill. It will confirm Shafaks reputation as a writer of impressive range, who quietly resists categorization and is not afraid to ask the big questions.”—Financial Times
“This is Shafaks most ambitious novel yet, and it is her best - told with a generous humanity that will surely realign attitudes both to the imaginative possibilities of fiction and to the constructed reality of the world around us.”—The Independent
“Shafak paints a gorgeous picture of a city teeming with secrets, intrigue, and romance.”—The Daily Times
Populated with vibrant characters, The Bastard of Istanbul
is the story of two families, one Turkish and one Armenian American, and their struggle to forge their unique identities against the backdrop of Turkey's violent history. Filled with humor and understanding, this exuberant, dramatic novel is about memory and forgetting, about the tension between the need to examine the past and the desire to erase it.
A -vivid and entertaining- (Chicago Tribune) tale about the tangled history of two families, from the author of The Forty Rules of Love and The Architect's Apprentice
-Zesty, imaginative . . . a Turkish version of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club.- --USA Today
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 Jonny 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. Filed 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.
In her second novel written in English, one of Turkey's most acclaimed and outspoken writers confronts her country's violent past in a vivid and colorful tale about the tangled histories of two families.
An honor killing shatters and transforms the lives of Turkish immigrants in 1970s London
Internationally bestselling Turkish author Elif Shafak’s new novel is a dramatic tale of families, love, and misunderstandings that follows the destinies of twin sisters born in a Kurdish village. While Jamila stays to become a midwife, Pembe follows her Turkish husband, Adem, to London, where they hope to make new lives for themselves and their children.
In London, they face a choice: stay loyal to the old traditions or try their best to fit in. After Adem abandons his family, Iskender, the eldest son, must step in and become the one who will not let any shame come to the family name. And when Pembe begins a chaste affair with a man named Elias, Iskender will discover that you could love someone with all your heart and yet be ready to hurt them.
Just published to great acclaim in England, Honor is a powerful, gripping exploration of guilt and innocence, loyalty and betrayal, and the trials of the immigrant, as well as the love and heartbreak that too often tear families apart.
About the Author
Elif Shafak’s books include the novels The Bastard of Istanbul
and The Forty Rules of Love
and the memoir Black Milk
, and her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times
, The Washington Post
, and The New York Times
. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She has appeared on NPR, and the BBC, and at the TED conference. She lives in London and Istanbul.