Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Books: A Fascinating Clash of Cultures

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Books: A Fascinating Clash of Cultures

Article excerpt

THE BASTARD OF ISTANBUL, by Elif Shafak, Viking, pounds 16.99. Available September 27.

THE Bastard of Istanbul is the engaging saga of three generations of women living together in present-day Istanbul. The story opens when 19-year-old Zeliha walks into a doctor's surgery and demands an abortion.

Twenty years later, Asya Kazancie is struggling to establish herself in an all-female household where, due to a mysterious curse, all male members of the family die by the age of 41

In order to try to save the only remaining boy, Zeliha's brother Mustafa is sent to America. When his American-Armenian stepdaughter visits the family in Istanbul the long-hidden secrets of the family begin to unravel.

Turkey's turbulent past provides the backdrop for the clash between three very different cultures - America, Turkey and Armenia. With the arrival of Asya, the complicated lives of the women are revealed in rich detail as they struggle to come to terms with their national identity and Turkey's violent history.

Elif Shafak is one of Turkey's most-acclaimed writers and she was accused by the Turkish government of "insulting Turkishness" by referring to the Armenian massacres and deportations of 1915. In fact, the controversy almost landed her in prison.

Without doubt, Elif Shafak has created an engaging, funny and, above all, enlightening story that serves to highlight the little known history of Turkey and Armenia.

LYNNE FEARNE

LOOK-IN: THE BEST OF THE SEVENTIES, edited by Graham Kibble-White, Prion Books, pounds 12.99. Available September 3.

If you were a child in the UK in the 70s, then you probably came into contact with Look-in.

Whether you picked it up every week, glanced at a friend's copy in the playground, or even just enjoyed the David "Kid" Jensen-voiced TV commercials demanding you to "Look out for Look-in!", one thing was clear - Look-in, which began publication in 1971, was almost too exciting for words.

Bringing readers all their favourites from the worlds of TV, pop and sport, the magazine sported comic strips, pin-ups, behind-the-scenes features and even star columnists. …

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