Last Train to Istanbul by Ayşe Kulin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ayse Kulin’s book is an intriguing book about the troubles facing a Turkish family during the early days of WWII. Unlike many daughters of an aging Turkish pasha, Selva and Sebiha, choose different life paths to create the setting for this story.
Selva falls in love with a Turkish Jew. Her father is shamed and embarrassed by her choice. His unwillingness to accept her Jewish husband causes Selva and her husband to move to France.
Sebiha does exactly was is expected of her and marries a promising Turkish government official. She has one child and finds her self depressed and lonely. Sebiha soon makes friends with one her husband’s co-workers, Tarik.
All the while, Turkey is trying to avoid entering the war either for or against Germany. Tarik is posted in France and makes contact with Selva.
Through Sebiha’s friendship with Tarik, Selva encourages the Turkish consulate to issue “papers” to other Jews. Soon the Turkish consulate creates a plan to transport hundreds of Turkish and non-Turkish Jews out of Nazi occupied France.
Will the Turkish Jews make out of France? Will Selva finally be accepted by her father?
The emotions run high in this well written and compelling story of one family’s challenge during the war.