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The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak
  

The Architect's Apprentice

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Shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize 2015.

Sixteenth century Istanbul: a stowaway arrives in the city bearing an extraordinary gift for the Sultan. The boy is utterly alone in a foreign land, with no wordly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare and valuable white elephant destined for the palace menagerie.

If you like Elif Shafak you might also like to read books by Vincent Lam, G. Willow Wilson and Orhan Pamuk.


The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Loping through this beguiling narrative is a baby elephant ‘as white as boiled rice’ who becomes the best friend of its keeper, twelve-year-old Jahan, so much so that when the elephant is sent as a gift to the sultan of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul, Jahan goes too as a stowaway. Once in Istanbul, Jahan falls in love with the sultan’s daughter and becomes an apprentice to the sultan’s architect, Sinan, who teaches him about harmony and balance and, importantly, ‘how to build himself, again and again, out of ruins’. This is a powerful novel that demonstrates vividly how hate and envy destroy but also how love can recreate the world afresh.
~ Julia Hamilton

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Synopsis

The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak

'There were six of us: the master, the apprentices and the white elephant. We built everything together...' Sixteenth century Istanbul: a stowaway arrives in the city bearing an extraordinary gift for the Sultan. The boy is utterly alone in a foreign land, with no wordly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare and valuable white elephant destined for the palace menagerie. So begins an epic adventure that will see young Jahan rise from lowly origins to the highest ranks of the Sultan's court. Along the way he will meet deceitful courtiers and false friends, gypsies, animal tamers, and the beautiful, mischievous Princess Mihrimah. He will journey on Chota's back to the furthest corners of the Sultan's kingdom and back again. And one day he will catch the eye of the royal architect, Sinan, a chance encounter destined to change Jahan's fortunes forever. Filled with the scents, sounds and sights of the Ottoman Empire, when Istanbul was the teeming centre of civilisation, The Architect's Apprentice is a magical, sweeping tale of one boy and his elephant caught up in a world of wonder and danger.

Reviews

'Lushly and memorably magic-realist... This is an extraordinarily skilfully crafted and ambitious narrative, with Shakespearean twists and turns, omens and enigmas, prophecies and destinies fulfilled.'

-Independent on 'Honour

'Rich and wide as the Eupharates river along whose banks it begins and ends, Elif Shafak has woven with masterful care and compassion one immigrant family's heartbreaking story... I loved this book.'

- Sarah Blake on 'Honour'

'A powerful book; thoughtful, provoking and compassionate.'

- Joanne Harris on 'Honour'

About the Author

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1971. She is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read female writer in Turkey. Critics have acclaimed her as one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary literature in both Turkish and English. Her novels include The Bastard of Istanbul which was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages. She is married with two children, and divides her time between London and Istanbul. Her website is www.elifshafak.com.

Author photo © Muammer Yanmaz

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Book Info

Publication date

6th November 2014

Author

Elif Shafak

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Author's Website

elifshafak.com/

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Publisher

Viking an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd

Format

Hardback
464 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780241004920

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