By Elif Shafak
A novel full of big ideas and questioning thoughts, based partly in Istanbul and partly in Oxford.
Big ideas and professors in one book are a risky combination, and at times it slips, but the uncommon, unexpected plot twist made up for that.
How many books do we know that mix past en present as a way to let the past explain the current situation? A lot, so much I can’t even name them (but All the light you cannot see and All that I am or What is the what) are the first three that pop up. This literary trick activates a certain expectation, and with the early clues given (unlike a short story, reading a novel is quite often like seeing a Hollywood-film: there’s early clues and once seen, the plot becomes predictable in a way) as a reader there’s no indication this book will surprise. But it does. And therefore, the surprise is even bigger. Spoiler alert: there’s a scandal on Oxford -but it’s not what you expect. Spoiler alert: the end of the novel is rather rushed, but… BUT…very unexpected. And, another spoiler alert: open. Which makes it a bit like a short story – I’d be curious to hear what novel-fans think of the ending.