The Bastard of Istanbul

The Bastard of Istanbul

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
Rate this:
From one of Turkey’s most acclaimed and outspoken writers, 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 Istanbulis a bold, powerful tale that will confirm Shafak as a rising star of international fiction.
Publisher: New York : Viking Penguin 2007.
ISBN: 9780670038343
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 360 p. ; 24 cm.


Featured Blogs and Events

New Book Club in a Bag additions!

April saw four new additions to our ever-growing Book Club in a Bag collection! Follow these links to read more about each new addition: The Bastard of Istanbul Bruno, Chief of Police The Crow Trap Lilac Girls Our Book Club in a Bag collection features over 200 titles, and each Book Club in a Bag consists of around 15 copies of the same book for you to check out and share with your book… (more)

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

inasalsaberi Oct 26, 2017

An amazing historical fiction of one of the most forgotten events in history. By the end of the book I was determined on one thing: Read it again! to savor every single detail that I might have missed.

Apr 22, 2016

Another great book by this author. Good story about 2 different families with a surprise and unexpected ending. Also an interesting explanation for chapter titles.

KCLSRecommends Oct 10, 2014

As an Armenian living in America, Armanoush feels that 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. She secretly flies to Istanbul, finds her aunts and becomes fast friends with one cousin, Asya. A secret is eventually uncovered that links the two families together and ties them to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres.

Jun 21, 2013

My first taste of Elif Shafak was "The Forty Rules of love," which really stirred me. Perhaps because of this, I was spoiled and expected too much. "The Bastard of Istanbul," started slowly but began to grow on me when Asya and Armanoush grew up. Armanoush is very astute when she makes the pronouncement, "You see, for me to fully experience my Armenianness, I had to come to Turkey and meet the Turks" Each aunt in Turkey has a distinct characteristic and I found aunt Banu fascinating. Her coffee readings seemed so prophetic and "Unlike the fate written by Allah coffee could always wash away." Armanoush's Cyber Cafe chats are indeed interesting and someone always comes out with a pearl of wisdom like, "The oppressor has no use for the past. The oppressed has nothing but the past."<br/>The Bastard of Istanbul is not the central character and her past can be guessed but Shafak reveals it in the last chapter fittingly.

May 27, 2013

Aangeraden door Sema

rprivette Mar 31, 2012

Not yet on audiobook at clevnet... About Turkish attempted genocide of Armenians during WWI (but much more entertaining than that). A girl (no Dad) lives with 4 generations of women and learns of past ugliness of Turks.
This award winning author was brought up on charges for writing UnTurkish friendly info.

Dec 29, 2011

A powerful story about what holds people and peoples together and what separates them. Richly textured and colorfully written. It's also interesting to note that this is the book for which Elif Shafak was prosecuted in Turkey. Even as progressive a country as Turkey is in many ways, still seems to have some issues with free speech.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SLPL

To Top