Last Train to Istanbul

  • by Ayse Kulin
  • Narrated by Sanjiv Jhaveri
  • 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Born into privilege to one of the last Ottoman pashas, beautiful, spirited Selva is the brightest jewel in her father’s household - until she falls in love with Rafael Alfandari. Though Turkey has long been a safe haven for Jews, marriage between a high-ranking Muslim girl and a Jewish boy is strictly forbidden. Yet young love will not be denied, and Selva and Rafael defy their parents and marry, fleeing to Paris in hopes of a better life - only to find themselves trapped in the path of the invading Nazis.
But in the midst of darkness shines a beacon of hope: A handful of courageous Turkish diplomats, protected only by the tenuous neutrality of their homeland, hatch a daring plot to spirit the exiled lovers and hundreds of innocent Jews to safety. Together, they will traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in one last, desperate bid for freedom.


What the Critics Say

"Ayşe Kulin is a clever writer. She draws the reader into the story of the life and loves of a Turkish family in wartime, and by the time the reader realizes that she has also cranked up the tension with a rescue plot, it is too late to put the book down unfinished. For aficionados of wartime novels, as well as for anyone glued to his or her seat watching the film Argo, this is a must read." (Helen Bryan, best-selling author of War Brides and The Sisterhood)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Disappointing, for me - it could have been so much better

What disappointed you about Last Train to Istanbul?

A slightly biased and perhaps idealised view of Turkey and life there, much as I love the country, the people and the food. The basis of the story was good, interesting (indeed, deeply fascinating in places), well researched, and it seemed well written, as far as one can tell from the American translation. However, it could have been so much stronger, and provided greater depth. I was interested because part of my family were/are from Turkey, with links also to France and Marseilles. The children were astonishingly well behaved, so little trouble to their parents - not requiring the usual amount of attention and care, even in illness!

Would you ever listen to anything by Ayse Kulin again?


Did the narration match the pace of the story?


What character would you cut from Last Train to Istanbul?

There is no need for that; all characters were a necessary part of the story.

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- Pen

Interesting story

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes. Story is quite captivating and intriguing. Although some characters did not really have development, e.g. Sabiha. It feels like it was cut short.

Would you be willing to try another book from Ayse Kulin? Why or why not?

Yes. I already have another book from her, so will be reading/listening to that next.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Sometimes the reading was a bit fast, and at the beginning it was a bit monotonous, but the pace and the style changed at the end.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No. I don't think it would be done well in the cinema, unless they tie the loose ends.

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- Jeanne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-10-2013
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio