On a spring evening in Istanbul, Peri is on her way to a dinner party - a night of luxury a far cry from her upbringing. But when her handbag is stolen her world shifts violently. She starts to doubt how she got here: a traumatic Istanbul childhood, student years in Oxford, the rebellious professor who led her and best friends Shirin and Mona to question everything - Islam, love, life, even God - and the scandal that tore them all apart. Over one desperate night she tries to make sense of a past she has tried to forget - but can we ever escape who we once were?
Shirin, Peri and Mona, they were the most unlikely of friends. They were the Sinner, the Believer and the Confused.
From award-winning writer Elif Shafak, the Orange Prize long-listed author of The Forty Rules of Love and The Architect's Apprentice, The Gaze is a humorous and carnivalesque exploration of what it means to look and be looked at...
An obese woman and her lover, a dwarf, are sick of being stared at wherever they go and so decide to reverse roles. The man goes out wearing make-up and the woman draws a moustache on her face.
This elegant, unforgettable novel explores our desire to look at others.
'Beautifully evoked' The Times
'Original and compelling' TLS
One rainy afternoon in Istanbul, a woman walks into a doctor's surgery. 'I need to have an abortion', she announces. She is nineteen years old and unmarried. What happens that afternoon will change her life.
Twenty years later, Asya Kazanci lives with her extended family in Istanbul. Due to a mysterious family curse, all the Kaznci men die in their early forties, so it is a house of women, among them Asya's beautiful, rebellious mother Zeliha, who runs a tattoo parlour; Banu, who has newly discovered herself as clairvoyant; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. And when Asya's Armenian-American cousin Armanoush comes to stay, long hidden family secrets connected with Turkey's turbulent past begin to emerge.
'Wonderfully magical, incredible, breathtaking...will have you gasping with disbelief in the last few pages' Sunday Express
'A beautiful book, the finest I have read about Turkey' Irish Times
'Heartbreaking...the beauty of Islam pervades Shafak's book' Vogue
From award-winning writer Elif Shafak, the Orange Prize long-listed author of The Forty Rules of Love and The Architect's Apprentice, Honour is a tale of love, betrayal and clashing cultures.
'A powerful book; thoughtful, provoking and compassionate' Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
'My mother died twice. I promised myself I would not let her story be forgotten . . .'
Leaving her twin sister behind, Pembe leaves Turkey for love - following her husband Adem to London. There the Topraks hope to make new lives for themselves and their children. Yet, no matter how far they travel, the traditions and beliefs the Topraks left behind stay with them - carried in the blood.
Their eldest is the boy Iskender, who remembers Turkey and feels betrayal deeper than most. His sister is Esma, who is loyal and true despite the pain and heartache. And, lastly, Yunus, who was born in London, and is shy and different.
Trapped by the mistakes of the past, the Toprak children find their lives shattered and transformed by a brutal act of murder . . .
A powerful novel set in Turkey and London in the 1970s, Honour explores pain and loss, loyalty and betrayal, the trials of the immigrant, the clash of tradition and modernity, as well as the love and heartbreak that too often tears families apart.
'Vivid storytelling... that explores the darkest aspects of faith and love' Sunday Telegraph
'Rich and wide as the Euphrates river along whose banks it begins and ends, Elif Shafak has woven with masterful care and compassion one immigrant family's heartbreaking story - a story nurtured in the terrible silences between men and women trying to grow within ancient ways, all the while growing past them. I loved this book' Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress
'[Elif Shafak] joins writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, Aamer Hussein, Andrea Levy, Hanan al-Shakyh and Leila Aboulela, who offer us fictional glimpses of London's Others' The Independent
The Architect's Apprentice is a dazzling and intricate tale from Elif Shafak, bestselling author of The Bastard of Istanbul.
'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 worldly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare 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 all the colour 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.
'A gorgeous picture of a city teeming with secrets, intrigue and romance' The Times
'Shafak's most ambitious novel yet her best - generous and imaginative' Independent
'Exuberant, epic and comic, fantastical and realistic . . . like all good stories it conveys deeper meanings about human experience' Financial Times
'Fascinating. A vigorous evocation of the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power' Sunday Times
'Intricate, multi-layered, resplendent, vividly evoked, beautifully written' Observer
'Sumptuous, absorbing, moving' Independent on Sunday
Shortlisted for the 2005 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, Elif Shafak's The Flea Palace is a moving and highly original novel about a group of individuals who live in the same building and who together become embroiled in a mystery.
By turns comic and tragic, The Flea Palace is an outstandingly original novel driven by an overriding sense of social justice.
Bonbon Palace was once a stately apartment block in Istanbul. Now it is a sadly dilapidated home to ten wildly different individuals and their families.
There's a womanizing, hard-drinking academic with a penchant for philosophy; a 'clean freak' and her lice-ridden daughter; a lapsed Jew in search of true love; and a charmingly naïve mistress whose shadowy past lurks in the building. When the rubbish at Bonbon Palace is stolen, a mysterious sequence of events unfolds that result in a soul-searching quest for truth.
'Hyperactive and hilarious' Independent
*The international bestseller*
"Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven't loved enough..."
Ella Rubinstein has a husband, three teenage children, and a pleasant home. Everything that should make her confident and fulfilled. Yet there is an emptiness at the heart of Ella's life - an emptiness once filled by love.
So when Ella reads a manuscript about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and his forty rules of life and love, her world is turned upside down. She embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author of this work.
It is a quest infused with Sufi mysticism and verse, taking Ella and us into an exotic world where faith and love are heartbreakingly explored. . .
'Enlightening, enthralling. An affecting paean to faith and love' Metro
'Colourfully woven and beguilingly intelligent' Daily Telegraph
'The past and present fit together beautifully in a passionate defence of passion itself' The Times
Black Milk is the affecting and beautifully written memoir on motherhood and writing by Turkey's bestselling female writer Elif Shafak, author of Honour, The Gaze and The Bastard of Istanbul which was long-listed for the Orange prize.
Postpartum depression affects millions of new mothers every year, and- like most of its victims- Elif Shafak never expected to be one of them.
But after the birth of her first child in 2006, the internationally bestselling Turkish author remembers how "for the first time my adult life . . . words wouldn't speak to me".
As her despair finally eased, Shafak sought to resuscitate her writing life by chronicling her own experiences.
In her intimate memoir, she reveals how she struggled to overcome her depression and how literature provided the salvation she so desperately needed.
'An intimate, affecting memoir . . . Her passion for literature is contagious, and her struggle with postpartum depression and writer's block reinforces how carefully all of us must tread. Beautifully rendered, Shafak's Black Milk is an epic poem to women everywhere' Colleen Mondor
Penguin Specials are designed to fill a gap. Written to be read over a long commute or a short journey, they are original and exclusively in digital form. This is Elif Shafak's examination of national identity.
"You know, I never understand. How come their children are so quiet and well disciplined?"
"Yeah," said the distressed father, his voice suddenly softer. "Blond children never cry, do they?"
As Elif Shafak stands in line at the airport, she overhears a Turkish father expressing to a friend his bewilderment at the cultural differences he's experienced since immigrating to northern Europe. Is it true, she wonders, that the citizens of these countries are genuinely happier? Why do people leave their homes for other countries? And what lessons can we all learn, for the creation of truly harmonious societies, from the experiences of immigrants?
In the light of the recent backlash against multiculturalism and the influx of millions of Muslims into Europe from the east, this powerful and personal essay uses the lived experience of immigrants to examine this most hotly debated subject.
Turkish author, columnist, speaker and academic Elif Shafak writes novels which examine identity and feminism. Her best-known works include The Bastard of Istanbul and The Architect's Apprentice.
Elif Shafak is one of today's most influential international writers and intellectuals who straddle East and West. She is the acclaimed author of ten novels including The Architect's Apprentice and The Bastard of Istanbul, and is the most widely read female writer in Turkey. Her work has been translated into over forty languages and she has been awarded the prestigious Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. She is also a public speaker, a women's and LGBT rights activist and a commentator who regularly contributes to world publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and La Repubblica. Elif has been longlisted for the Orange Prize, the Baileys Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award, and shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Ondaatje Prize. She lives in London and can be found at www.elifshafak.com.