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Bit palas
Elif Shafak
publisher: Metis Yayinlari, Istanbul, 2002

translated as:
The Flea Palace
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2004
translation: Müge Göçek

refered to by:
Snow
Orhan Pamuk


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The setting is a stately residence in Istanbul built by Russian noble émigré Pavel Antipov for his wife Agripina at the end of the Tsarist reign, now sadly dilapidated, flea-infested, and home to ten families. Shafak uses the narrative structure of A Thousand Nights and One Nights to construct a story-within-a-story narrative. Inhabitants include Ethel, a lapsed Jew in search of true love and the sad and beautiful Blue Mistress whose personal secret provides the novel with an unforgettable denouement. Add to this a strange, intensifying stench whose cause is revealed at the end of the book, and we have a metaphor for the cultural and spiritual decay in the heart of Istanbul.



bookweb    
BOOKS BY ELIF SHAFAK:

The Gaze
2000
–› Excerpt

Shafak explores the subject of body image and desirability in women and men.
The Flea Palace
2002
A stately residence in Istanbul, now home to ten families, is a metaphoric conduit for the cultural and spiritual decay in the heart of the city.
The Saint of Incipient Insanities
2004
Three graduate school roommates - a Moroccan, a Turk and a Spaniard - are strange bedfellows in a potentially inhospitable land in this first novel in English by Turkish writer Elif Shafak.
The Bastard of Istanbul

The tale of two families, an exiled Armenian family living in San Francisco and the Kazancis of Istanbul, whose contemporary stories conjoin through a family secret that began with the 1915 massacre of Armenians.
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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht, info@the-ledge.com
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