On My Nightstand: The Bastard of Istanbul

I binge read. It happens more often than I am willing to admit. I get into a writer and then have to read everything I can get my hands on by them. It happened last year with Kate Mosse, earlier this year with Herta Mueller, C.C. Humphreys, Tobsha Lerner, Yasmina Khadra. Recently, it’s Turkish novelist Elif Shafak.

I came across The Bastard of Istanbul at, of all places, the thrift store. People give the best books away, and I love to cruise the stacks there for gems that I wouldn’t otherwise know anything about.

This novel thrilled me from the beginning until about 3/4 of the way through, where all of the storylines converged in ways that weren’t my favourite. But, Shafak’s biting voice full of exploration of competing diasporas, mythologies, cultural expectations, and family drama hooked me and I could not stop reading.


What followed was an opening up to a new set of ideas and perspective through Shafak’s writing and conversations.

Her other novels including The Architect’s Apprentice and The Flea Palace are now high up in the nightstand reading stack.

If you love charming, gritty family novels, check out The Bastard of Istanbul.


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