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Elif Shafak

Author of The Bastard of Istanbul

35+ Works 7,915 Members 318 Reviews 10 Favorited

About the Author

Elif Shafak is an assistant professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona.

Works by Elif Shafak

Associated Works

Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre (2016) — Contributor — 289 copies
The Quarter: Stories (2018) — Foreword, some editions — 44 copies
Granta 149: Europe: Strangers in the Land (2019) — Contributor — 38 copies


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Common Knowledge



This is my first read from this author and I'm in between 3 to 4. In the end, I've rated it 4/5 as it was well written, it was easy to navigate between the past and the present. I liked that it has been tagged or titled for each chapter, so I didn't get lost at all.

Ella's story is from the present where she is living a typical housewife with 3 kids kinda life. She was given an assignment to read and report an unknown author's book, Sweet Blasphemy, which has slowly intrigued her and changed her way of life. Sweet Blasphemy brings us to the past with the likes of Shams, Rumi, Kimya, Aladdin and lots more.

This may not be a popular opinion as I did find the religious teachings incorporated into the story kinda dragging as such I tend to skip more. However, the overall story is actually quite interesting with each individual sharing their side of the story. This is where I find myself more engrossed especially when they share their thoughts of Shams and his relationship with Rumi. Who would have known, bromance from way back then!

The one thing which is hard for me to grasp was Ella's choice after reading Sweet Blasphemy and having communicated with the author, Aziz. It's a little hard to accept that each time we read something enlightening that will lead us to a life-changing decision. A little too farfetched in my opinion. It was her decision to get married in the first place and also her choice not to question her husband's infidelity. So, to suddenly follow Aziz after having read Sweet Blasphemy was more of Ella running away IMO.

Other than that, it was an interesting read with much of its religious context differed from the local ones which was eye-opening for me. I thought it should be universal but then again, many preachers have preached it differently, so it has changed through the years. If you are looking for something spiritual, unorthodox historical, this is a choice for you.
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Sholee | 73 other reviews | Nov 15, 2023 |
Well written but after a while the narrating tree got a bit „know it all“
kakadoo202 | 46 other reviews | Oct 16, 2023 |
A novella length essay on the state of the world following the pandemic and the particular condition of politics we have been left with in this country and the world. Shafak's description of things is poignant and reveals her keen and complex mind, not to mention her kindness and generosity. She calls for more listening in the face of the voices that tie to drown everything out with their volume alone. She calls for understanding, and education. This is a modest treatise on living in a difficult world that bears constant re-reading. And it should send you to her wonderful fiction where all the same characteristics are always on full display. Shafak is a gem we should all be happy exists in this time.

Highly Recommended!!!!!
5 bones!!!!!
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1 vote
blackdogbooks | 2 other reviews | Sep 4, 2023 |
Elif Şafak normally has a gift for finding interesting subject-matter for fiction in unlikely places, but this turned out to be a disappointingly routine Romeo-and-Juliet story set against the background of the intercommunal violence on Cyprus in 1974. The idea of having a fig tree act as one of the narrators was clever, and allowed her to bring in a lot of interesting botanical background, but it wasn't really quite enough to lift the book out of the realms of the predictable. Maybe it just made it a bit too obvious that this was an entirely research-driven project. There's a complicated bit of plot-gymnastics involved in the timeline, but that seems to be there only to allow a pair of teenage lovers from 1974 to have a daughter young enough to be a victim of cyber-bullying, and even then that part of the story doesn't really add anything, it just seems to fizzle out. Pleasant enough to read, but not one of her best.… (more)
thorold | 46 other reviews | Aug 22, 2023 |



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