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Book Club - The Architect's Apprentice reviews

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GenesBookClub Advisor Report 13 May 2015 18:26

To those of you who were selected to receive a free copy of The Architect's Apprentice, we hope you enjoy reading it and would love to hear what you think.

Based on previous feedback, we're going to avoid the discussion questions this month, and ask you to just post your personal responses - did you enjoy it?

We also wanted to share two related links, from the author:

Elif Shafak writes about the power of reading: https://www.the-pool.com/arts-culture/books/16/elif-shafak-on-the-power-of-reading

A video of Elif Shafak on the politics of fiction: http://www.ted.com/talks/elif_shafak_the_politics_of_fiction?language=en


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 21 Jul 2015 17:49

The narrator in this book is Jahan who is a teenager when he arrives in 16th century Istanbul; He is the Mahout to Chota, a White Elephant who was a gift to the Sultan Suleiman.

The book has several themes
- His impossible love of Princess Mihrimah, the Sultan’s young daughter.
- His training with Mimar Sinan, the Sultan’s Architect (hence the title)
- His affection for Chota and the work he did with him.
- His unusual friendship with a group of gypsies led by Balaban
- His fear and loathing of the European Sea Captain who transported him to Turkey.
Although enjoyable, the book was slightly dissatisfying. None of the themes were fully explored. For instance, I’d liked to have learnt a bit more about life in the medieval Sultanate, or about the art of constructing the many mosques his ‘Master’ built. Having siad that, It would make an ideal Holiday read while sitting in the sun.


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 17 Aug 2015 10:52

Has no one else read the book yet ? :-S


SuffolkVera Report 18 Aug 2015 05:18

I had just started a great tome on Peter the Great when the book club choice arrived and I am still ploughing through that at a chapter a night. I do feel bad that I haven't read The Architect's Apprentice yet but I will eventually get around to posting a review


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 19 Aug 2015 18:55

You'll certainly find the setting different, Vera :-D


SuffolkVera Report 9 Oct 2015 21:54

I have at long last managed to read The Architect's Apprentice and find I agree with most of DetEcTive's review above.

It was an interesting book but not very satisfying. It tells the story of Jahan from his early teens to his late nineties. There are so many different strands to the book but none of them really seem fully explored. I also found it very episodic in that each chapter was a separate little episode that didn't always follow on very well from the chapter before, though most of the loose ends were tied up to some degree towards the end of the book. I found the earlier part of the book more believable than the later chapters.

The writing style is fairly simple and easy to read, if a bit monotonous. A bit of variety in things like sentence length would have made it more interesting to read. Having said that I think the author, Elif Shafak, does have a gift for imagery. One or two of her phrases, such as "silence, thicker than honey" will stay with me.

While I am glad I have had the opportunity to read this book, I don't think I will be seeking out more work by this author.