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 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.
"This is Shafak's most ambitious novel yet, and it is her best ..." (The Independent)
"This edifying, emotionally forceful novel shows how hate and envy destroy, and how love might build the world anew ..." (The Guardian)
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Spoiled by the narrator
for fans of the Arabian Nights
I would recommend this to lovers of flowery language and pious aphorisms, and lots of patience. Many would say it is beautifully written At first I was fascinated by the setting, 16th century Istanbul of which I know nothing and found Eli Shafak's account enlightening. Despite the hero, Jehan's many narrow escapes, each came to seem like the one before.The plot moved too slowly for me and I couldn't empathise with any of the characters.
I found the narrator's voice and tone monotonous.
Probably. It would be very PC and look gorgeous. Probably best made in Bollywood
- Teresa Gamble