Sponsored by: GRIFFIN BOOKSHOP
THE BASTARD OF ISTANBUL by Elif Shafak in paperback at 11.2 euros.
One rainy afternoon in Istanbul a woman walks into a doctor’s surgery. “I want an abortion,” she announces. She is 19 years old and unmarried. What happens that afternoon is to change her life, and the lives of everyone around her.
Twenty years later, Asya Kazanci lives with her extended family in Istanbul. Due to a mysterious family curse, all the men die by age 41, so it is a house of women, among them her beautiful, rebellious mother, Zeliha, who runs a tattoo parlour; newly self-discovered clairvoyant Auntie Banu; Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster; and bar-brawl widow, Auntie Cevriye. When Asya’s Armenian-American cousin Armanoush comes to stay however, long-hidden family secrets and Turkey’s turbulent past begin to emerge.
This delightful and beautifully-crafted novel contains comedy as well as cultural wisdom in a tale of Islamic cultures. The surprise denouement takes your breath away.
Elif Shafak is one of Turkey’s most acclaimed and outspoken novelists. She was born in 1971 and is the author of six novels, most recently The Saint of Incipient Insanities, The Gaze and The Flea Palace, and one work of non-fiction. She teaches at the University of Arizona and divides her time between the US and Istanbul.