.Recently I read this book, ‘Last train to Istanbul’ and decided to write something about it, recommend it to the readers as I found it really interesting.
A historical novel was never my choice of books. But when I read the title and looked at the cover, I felt I should go for it.
I never loved history in school. Remembering the events, the people in the past, and to study them was a tedious task for me then.
But after reading this book, I realized that it’s not the subject which most of the students hate, but the way it is taught in schools.
If the events in history are narrated in the form of a story, I guess everyone would love to know more and more.
And remember it too.
As far as my knowledge is concerned, I had lessons about world war 2 in my school. But if you ask me which year, which countries, who supported whom, how many affected in the war, I am not sure I would not answer it immediately.
But when I read the book ‘Last train to Istanbul’ I was completely into that era. In 1930-35 and so… because the story happens in those years. We get involved with the characters and start hating all the war situation.
Let me tell you a brief about the book now.
Last Train to Istanbul
It’s originally written by Turkish author Ayse Kulin and what we read in English is the novel translated by John Baker.
The story is about an inter-religion romance happening in Istanbul, a city in Turkey. A Muslim girl Selva and Rafael, who is actually Jew. Not only in India, but throughout the world, inter-religion marriages are not accepted, and here we are talking about which era? The 1930s.
And there’s a department in every person’s life called relatives. Will they tolerate such kind of things in the circle? No.
So the beautiful, educated and intelligent Muslim girl’s father had to tolerate all the blames by people, for educating his daughter. Her sister’s character also plays important role in her life.
Both side families reject the marriage. But having fallen deeply in love, both of them marry in 1933, much against family’s wishes.
After marriage, they get settled in Paris, where many Turkish jew people were staying.
Now, a little I wish to share here. Way back in 1492, Don Ferdinand, the King of Spain, commanded all Jews to leave their country. Because they were considered as non-believers.
And, Sultan in Turkey at that time, Beyazid, welcomed them in his country and that’s how a large number of Jews made Turkey as their home.
Though Jews had lived for centuries in Turkey, marriages between the two communities still were not accepted.
But then after a few years, the world changes. The war arrives in those countries. Turkey remains neutral during most of World war II.
When War arrives in France and the Nazis take over, Jewish families including Selva and Rafael in France are no longer safe.
Realizing the situation in France is worse than they thought and that there are many Turkish citizens who happen to be Jewish trying to get out of France, the Turkish government begin to plot a way to save their citizens.
And a plan is to have a special train transport Turkish Jews to Istanbul. And that’s the last train to Istanbul.
I loved the plot.
How the conversation is carried out in foreign ministry, around the table, how the people suffer, their emotional side, the uncertainty of life, no idea when the door would be knocked and the government people would move them to some safer place, what goes through the minds of ministers and their families and so many things you get to know while reading. It keep the story interesting.
And that’s the beauty of this book. We get to know so many historical events with encapsulation os fictional characters, narrated so nicely.
So, will the train make it safely with everyone on board? I would suggest, read the book.
You will enjoy it.
Suspense and autobiography are always my most favorite genres of books. But, I would include historical fiction too in my collection. And write about some really good books for those who love books.
Because I know, sometimes, just like choosing a dress or mobile from many, it’s really difficult to pick the right book from the library. Right?
I would also like to know about other good books in historical fiction. If you have read and wish to share with other readers, please suggest the titles or authors.
Please mention it in the comments.
Till then, bye. Keep reading and sharing the books.