walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Bastard of Istanbul_, Elif Shafak

This was a book group selection. I read the first 90 pages a few weeks ago, then finished it on Monday. I had thought I would not be able to make it to the book group meeting, which is why I didn't read it for a while. It's a bit of a slog getting through the first 100 pages, because there are a lot of characters and the plot is...subtle. I highly recommend that you get out a piece of paper and diagram the relationships as you are working through Banu's revelations towards the end of the book.

I _really_ liked this book. Which is pretty rare for me and a book group selection. I go so I can talk books with people, but these are not, generally, books I would have picked for myself. But wow.

First off: a varied group of characters, predominantly but not exclusively women. All powerful in their own way, all very believable. Second, carefully depicted relationships -- familial, sexual, friendship, etc. Third: an amazing political backdrop. Nothing in here about Kurds and the likely coming destabilization that will occur when Iraq fragments into three (which is looking real inevitable about now; shocking that Biden could turn out to be so right, isn't it?). But quite a lot that amounts to background for the current resolution and the October 11 conviction of Arat Dink and Serkis Seropyan.

Recommendations of entertainment should always be in the context of a particular audience (if this is the kind of thing you like, you'll really enjoy it). Except when they shouldn't be. You might or might not like this book, or the characters in this book, or any or all of the points made in this book.

But you should seriously consider reading it. It's a good book.

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