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The Book of Istanbul: A City in Short Fiction

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Both intelligent and accessible, this collection pulls readers into the heart of Turkish culture, politics, and history through multifarious narrative frameworks. The testimonials, memories, and confessions that weave through the pages not only birth a new concept of Turkish life from previously unsung voices, but also tell universal truths about living to which anyone can Both intelligent and accessible, this collection pulls readers into the heart of Turkish culture, politics, and history through multifarious narrative frameworks. The testimonials, memories, and confessions that weave through the pages not only birth a new concept of Turkish life from previously unsung voices, but also tell universal truths about living to which anyone can relate—regardless of background, language, or creed. Providing an enriched experience and taste of modern urban Turkey, these short stories paint Istanbul with many colors, shades, and tones with a luxury that cannot always be afforded by the novel.


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Both intelligent and accessible, this collection pulls readers into the heart of Turkish culture, politics, and history through multifarious narrative frameworks. The testimonials, memories, and confessions that weave through the pages not only birth a new concept of Turkish life from previously unsung voices, but also tell universal truths about living to which anyone can Both intelligent and accessible, this collection pulls readers into the heart of Turkish culture, politics, and history through multifarious narrative frameworks. The testimonials, memories, and confessions that weave through the pages not only birth a new concept of Turkish life from previously unsung voices, but also tell universal truths about living to which anyone can relate—regardless of background, language, or creed. Providing an enriched experience and taste of modern urban Turkey, these short stories paint Istanbul with many colors, shades, and tones with a luxury that cannot always be afforded by the novel.

50 review for The Book of Istanbul: A City in Short Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katja

    I read this collection during and after my short trip to Istanbul. I selected it, not expecting to provide me with a touristy introduction to the city, but rather to get a feel of the country's literary voices. Meaning, I did not necessarily connect the stories to the sights I saw on my short trip. Previously I had only read a couple of novels by Orhan Pamuk, and maybe an odd poem or a story here and there. Overall, I like the collection, but I was not wowed. Some of the stories felt clumsy and we I read this collection during and after my short trip to Istanbul. I selected it, not expecting to provide me with a touristy introduction to the city, but rather to get a feel of the country's literary voices. Meaning, I did not necessarily connect the stories to the sights I saw on my short trip. Previously I had only read a couple of novels by Orhan Pamuk, and maybe an odd poem or a story here and there. Overall, I like the collection, but I was not wowed. Some of the stories felt clumsy and weird, or the plot made little sense. Also, the language did not work in a few places. I cannot tell for sure, but it seems some stories could have used better translation. It is not good if, as a reader, I am being reminded that I am reading. Or at least, that I am reading translated work. On several occasions I found myself pulled out of the text by either an odd sentence structure, or by what I'd considered a wrong choice of adjective. I dunno, could be just me. In any case, there are some really bright places, insightful observations, and lovely images. I would particularly single out these three gems: "A Question", by Müge İplikçi, "Out of Reach" by Gönül Kivilcim, and "The Intersection" by Mehmet Zaman Saçlioglu. They lingered in my mind for some time after I'd read them.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Some stand out stories, particularly The Panther by Özen Yula; Istanbul, Your Eyes are Black by Karin Karakşlı and The Intersection by Mehmet Zaman Saçlıoğlu. Theirs were the most accomplished stories- enjoyable and interesting without getting bogged down by metaphors or getting tangled up trying to say something MEANINGFUL. All the stories in the collection were fairly abstract and obscure. I think it would have benefited from a wider array of styles. Also a closer eye on the editing- I notice Some stand out stories, particularly The Panther by Özen Yula; Istanbul, Your Eyes are Black by Karin Karakşlı and The Intersection by Mehmet Zaman Saçlıoğlu. Theirs were the most accomplished stories- enjoyable and interesting without getting bogged down by metaphors or getting tangled up trying to say something MEANINGFUL. All the stories in the collection were fairly abstract and obscure. I think it would have benefited from a wider array of styles. Also a closer eye on the editing- I noticed some typos (and I never notice typos). Not a bad collection- probably a good jumping off point into other Turkish writers' arms.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Zana

    I've read much about Istanbul to confirm the existence of huzun as coined by author Orhan Pamuk to describe his city, Istanbul. Turkish writers generally write of melancholy the city possesses the way poets write of heartache - unbearable, filled with longing, yet beautiful. I've read much about Istanbul to confirm the existence of huzun as coined by author Orhan Pamuk to describe his city, Istanbul. Turkish writers generally write of melancholy the city possesses the way poets write of heartache - unbearable, filled with longing, yet beautiful.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    A concise and enjoyable introduction to a variety of Turkish writers. Short stories in translation. My favourite one? Istanbul, Your Eyes Are Black. Want to read more, now, by Karin Karakasli.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Loren

  6. 4 out of 5

    Guy Parker

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather H

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Pickles

  9. 5 out of 5

    YUAN ZHUANG

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    A useful introduction to Turkey's short-story writers. Well translated, even if some of the stories lacked subtlety. A useful introduction to Turkey's short-story writers. Well translated, even if some of the stories lacked subtlety.

  11. 4 out of 5

    M

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sheena

  13. 5 out of 5

    bora sahin

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carolina

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  16. 5 out of 5

    Turkel T.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Iulia

  18. 4 out of 5

    Krishna

  19. 5 out of 5

    Monica

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rach Stanton

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paula Segre

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara H.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Smbanoun

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bettina

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eli

  27. 5 out of 5

    Phil

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

  30. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  31. 5 out of 5

    Elviza

  32. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  33. 4 out of 5

    Simonetta

  34. 4 out of 5

    Hend

  35. 5 out of 5

    Shahmeer

  36. 4 out of 5

    Deliadespina

  37. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  38. 5 out of 5

    Nafisa

  39. 5 out of 5

    Slavka Borislavova

  40. 4 out of 5

    Joy

  41. 4 out of 5

    Emily Overend

  42. 4 out of 5

    Ho Michelle

  43. 5 out of 5

    Cam

  44. 4 out of 5

    Demetris Pph

  45. 4 out of 5

    Phil

  46. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Sparke

  47. 5 out of 5

    Julianne

  48. 5 out of 5

    Gypsy Fredrich

  49. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine

  50. 5 out of 5

    Molly Tanış

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