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Extended Audio Sample The Bastard of Istanbul Audiobook, by Elif Shafak Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.68 out of 53.68 out of 53.68 out of 53.68 out of 53.68 out of 5 3.68 (22 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elif Shafak Narrator: Laural Merlington Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2007 ISBN: 9781400173976
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From one of Turkey's most acclaimed and outspoken writers comes a novel about the tangled histories of two families. In her second novel written in English, Elif Shafak confronts her country's violent past in a vivid and colorful tale set in both Turkey and the United States. At its center is the "bastard" of the title, Asya, a nineteen-year-old woman who loves Johnny Cash and the French Existentialists, and the four sisters of the Kazanci family who all live together in an extended household in Istanbul: Zehila, the zestful, headstrong youngest sister who runs a tattoo parlor and is Asya's mother; Banu, who has newly discovered herself as a clairvoyant; Cevriye, a widowed high school teacher; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. Their one estranged brother lives in Arizona with his wife and her Armenian daughter, Armanoush. When Armanoush secretly flies to Istanbul in search of her identity, she finds the Kazanci sisters and becomes fast friends with Asya. A secret is uncovered that links the two families and ties them to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres. Full of vigorous, unforgettable female characters, The Bastard of Istanbul is a bold, powerful tale that will confirm Shafak as a rising star of international fiction. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “We come to see that this need to confront the past, with all its load of error and guilt, is something that concerns not just Turks and Armenians but all of us, and that what is true between races and peoples is also true in individual lives. Throughout the novel, passing from one generation to the next, is a gold brooch in the shape of a pomegranate, a memorial to the unoffending victims and a symbol of continuity and reconciliation. It is this last word that one keeps coming back to. But there is no reconciliation without justice. Elif Shafak’s novel brings the possibility of it a step closer, and we are all in her debt for this.”

    Washington Post

  • Laural Merlington has the skills to bring this complex, intriguing story to life. AudioFile
  • “Worlds collide and find themselves already interwoven…there’s more going on than interfamilial melodrama, and Shafak’s ambitions do not stop with an airing of Turkey’s century-old dirty laundry…In the end, Shafak resists a tidy wrap-up. She leaves most of her characters in the lurch, abandoning them midcrisis, their dilemmas only deepened with a dose of ambiguity. But how else could she leave them? The point here—and of the ugly fuss that has greeted the book’s publication—is that the past is never finished, never neat, and never ours.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Beautifully imagined…it’s as much family history as national history that drives this vital and entertaining novel. And it’s the powerful and idiosyncratic characters who drive the family history. An, as you hear in your mind’s ear, it’s Shafak’s vibrant language that drives the characters…This wonderful new novel carried me away. And reality was different when I returned.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Shafak weaves an intricate and vibrant saga of repression and freedom, cultural clashes and convergences, pragmatism and mysticism, and crimes and retribution, subtly revealing just how inextricably entwined we all are, whatever our heritage or beliefs.”

    Booklist (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rana | 2/20/2014

    " I would have given this book three stars but I gave it an extra one just for making me learn about something (Armenian genocide, history of Turkey) that I wasn't familiar with. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natasa Tovornik | 2/11/2014

    " A great story about a family of women, all with a different story and destiny. In a family where men die young they have to find their own way. Very interesting characters and superbly written as well. Amazing twists and storytelling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie | 2/3/2014

    " I loved this. Not sure Emily did. I'll have to ask her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie D'audney | 1/30/2014

    " Novel of the tensions between Armenians and Turks that persist and affect a young girl wanting to marry. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandra | 1/7/2014

    " This book ended up being way below my expectations. Elif Shafal will not tell you a lot about Armenian genocide nor the Turkish identity pre and post Ataturk. It is more a pop chick flick/soap opera sort of a book. My two stars go for being not bad as a beach book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 6/21/2013

    " Looking forward to discussing this one at book group! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tess | 2/14/2013

    " I loved this book. the writing is wonderful. The ending is a surprise. the history is enlightening. I learned alot about young women in Turkey. Try it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Catherine Bracy | 1/19/2013

    " It reads very much like chick lit, and I was expecting a little bit more. Also, the story feels a little contrived. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zelda Ber | 6/28/2012

    " If you like books were combines history with fiction this is it. one of the best ways to learn some Turkish-Armenean history but fall in love which each character. one of my favorites books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amplotkin | 5/16/2012

    " I am enjoying this so far . . . and, now that I'm done, I do recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 3/21/2012

    " absolutely brilliant! who knew Turks could pen such amazing literature! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna Mason | 1/4/2012

    " This was a great book, you could really tell how in love the author is with the city of Istanbul. I had a hard time following the complicated family ties, but once the basics were down it was really great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hanin Abbas | 11/29/2011

    " Extremely bold and raggedly beautiful! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rho | 9/18/2011

    " Her descriptions of Istanbul and evocation of Turkish life I really enjoyed - however, the characters and story I found trite and irritating and although the central political arguement was interesting, her manner of conveying it just bored me "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 5/22/2011

    " Slow to begin, awkward to get into, I'm glad I stuck with the story, for the insight into imperfect lives and into an intriguing world where east meets west meets genocide meets history and the fog of forgetting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Modisettwilson | 4/14/2011

    " Lots of ins and outs. I got a tad confused among Middle Eastern names, and didn't think it was as good as her later book, but good enough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Glenna | 4/11/2011

    " first off, this woman knows how to make a book cover. they are always stunning. not that i would judge a book by that, or anything..
    this was a lovely story that really crystallizes the current dynamics between turks and armenians through the eyes of the women in it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn Hower | 3/20/2011

    " I enjoyed this glimpse into a new culture. For most of this book the author has such a light almost whimsical touch, the ending comes as a bit of a shock. A rich story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caro | 3/1/2011

    " Could never quite figure out where it was going. I kept going as I regularly had the impressino that it was going somewhere. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 2/28/2011

    " Shafak explores Turkey's denial of the Armenian holocaust in this story of three generations of women who live in Istanbul. When a distant relative, an Armenian American girl, visits, family secrets are revealed and Turkish history is questioned. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Shan | 2/19/2011

    " Not compelling enough for me to finish the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yousef | 2/15/2011

    " One of the best novels I've read. Very well written and has an amazing storyline that was intricately woven to have you transeffered in place and time.

    Read it! "

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About the Author
Author Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak is the author of several well-known books, including the novels The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love and the memoir Black Milk. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Shafak’s work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She has appeared on NPR, the BBC, and at a TED conference. She lives in London and Istanbul.

About the Narrator

Laural Merlington is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator with over two hundred titles to her credit. An Audie Award nominee, she has also directed over one hundred audiobooks. She teaches college in her home state of Michigan.