The Bastard of Istanbul Paperback – 30 April 2015

by Elif Shafak  (Author)

One rainy afternoon in Istanbul, a woman walks into a doctor's surgery. 'I need to have an abortion', she announces. She is nineteen years old and unmarried. What happens that afternoon will change her life.

Twenty years later, Asya Kazanci lives with her extended family in Istanbul. Due to a mysterious family curse, all the Kaznci men die in their early forties, so it is a house of women, among them Asya's beautiful, rebellious mother Zeliha, who runs a tattoo parlour; Banu, who has newly discovered herself as clairvoyant; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. And when Asya's Armenian-American cousin Armanoush comes to stay, long hidden family secrets connected with Turkey's turbulent past begin to emerge.

The Bastard of Istanbul, was long-listed for the Orange Prize. Shafak addresses the Armenian genocide, which is denied by the Turkish government. Shafak was prosecuted on charges of "insulting Turkishness" (Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code) for discussing the genocide in the novel. Had she been convicted, she would have faced a maximum jail term of three years. The Bastard of Istanbul is perhaps the first Turkish novel to deal directly with the massacres, atrocities, and deportations that decimated the country's Armenian population in the last years of Ottoman rule.

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