It tells the story of Dodola and Zam, two child slaves living in a vicious universe in which rape and murder are assumed facts of life. The details can be jarring. The soldiers in his fictional Arabian Nights -inspired kingdom of Wanatolia have daggers but no guns, while street vendors sell slaves in chains next to DVD stands. Still, one need change only one or two small facts of our history and his book could serve as a cousin to the non-fiction comics journalism of Joe Sacco.
Her first appointment was to Spain, and we moved to Madrid in the early s. So throughout my childhood, the word "Armenian" meant only one thing to me: Faced with hatred, I hated back. But that was as far as my feelings went.
It took me years to ask the simple question: Why did the Armenians hate us? My ignorance was not unusual.
For me in those days, and for most Turkish citizens even today, my country's history began inwith the founding of the modern Turkish state. The roots of the Armenians' rage -- in the massacres, atrocities and deportations that decimated Turkey's Armenian population in the last years of Ottoman rule, particularly -- were simply not part of our common historical memory.
But for me today, and for a growing number of my fellow Turks, that has changed. That is why I am in Istanbul this weekend. I came to Bosphorus University to attend the first-ever public conference in this country on what happened to the Ottoman Armenians in and after As I write, we are fighting last-minute legal maneuvers by hard-line opponents of open discussion to shut the conference down.
I don't know how it will turn out -- but the fact that we are here, openly making the attempt, with at least verbal support from the prime minister and many mainstream journalists, highlights how far some in my country have come.
Until my early twenties, like many Turks living abroad, I was less interested in history than in what we described as "improving Turkey's image in the eyes of Westerners.
Gradually, I started reading about the Ottoman Armenians -- not because I was particularly interested in the literature but because I was young and rebellious, and the official ideology of Turkey told me not to.
Yet it was not until I came to the United States in and started getting involved in an Armenian-Turkish intellectuals' network that I seriously felt the need to face the charges that, beginning inTurks killed as many as 1.
I focused on the literature of genocide, particularly the testimony of survivors; I watched filmed interviews at the Zoryan Institute's Armenian archives in Toronto; I talked to Armenian grandmothers, participated in workshops for reconciliation and collected stories from Armenian friends who were generous enough to entrust me with their family memories and secrets.
With each step, I realized not only that atrocities had been committed in that terrible time but that their effect had been made far worse by the systematic denial that followed.
I came to recognize a people's grief and to believe in the need to mourn our past together. I also got to know other Turks who were making a similar intellectual journey.
Obviously there is still a powerful segment of Turkish society that completely rejects the charge that Armenians were purposely exterminated. Some even go so far as to claim that it was Armenians who killed Turks, and so there is nothing to apologize for. These nationalist hardliners include many of our government officials, bureaucrats, diplomats and newspaper columnists.When The Bastard of Istanbul was published in Turkey, Elif Shafak was accused by nationalist lawyers of insulting Turkish identity.
The charges were later dropped, and now readers in America can discover for themselves this bold and powerful tale.
Feb 10, · For Elif Shafak, it has never been more complicated. Her sixth novel, “The Bastard of Istanbul,” was a runaway best seller in Turkey, with more than , copies purchased.
Ms. “The Bastard of Istanbul” that she published in made the long list for the Orange Prize and was that year’s bestseller in Turkey. In the novel, Samak eloquently asks questions about the genocide of Turkish Armenians that the government refused to acknowledge.
The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak. Availablity: 10 in stock. 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 Armenian deportations and massacres.
Got Questions? Call us. Aug 08, · In her novel, Elif Shafak shows us the beauty of diversity, while at the same time providing us with insights about women’s rights in Turkey, identity problems of foreigners, marginalization, feminism, the ghettoisation of society, patriarchy and many other topics.
About Elif Shafak Elif Shafak is an award-winning, bestselling novelist; a champion of women's rights and freedom of expression; and the most widely read female novelist in Turkey.
Her books have been translated into more than forty languages.