The Bastard of Istanbul 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,… The Bastard of Istanbul 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,… 2007-01-18 Fiction Viking
Book Review

The Bastard of Istanbul (2007)

EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Jan 18, 2007; Writer: Elif Shafak; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Viking

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-

Originally posted Jan 26, 2007 Published in issue #918-919 Feb 02, 2007 Order article reprints