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The Bastard of Istanbul

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The Bastard of Istanbul

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Elif Shafak
publisher:
Viking
genre:
Fiction

We gave it a B-

Despite the title, The Bastard of Istanbul, Elif Shafak’s book isn’t centered on a born-out-of-wedlock child in Turkey’s biggest city. Too bad, because Asya, a feisty, fatherless 19-year-old obsessed with Johnny Cash, is the most entertaining character in this ambitious novel that strives to be an epic but doesn’t quite succeed. Through the prism of two modern families, one living in Istanbul, the other in the States, Bastard explores the 1915 Armenian massacres by the Turks and the importance of the past in forging cultural identities. A noble effort, but the surplus of characters clogs the story’s flow, resulting in a narrative hodgepodge. B-

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