last letter from Istanbul

Book Club member reviews: Last Letter from Istanbul

Here is how Last Letter from Istanbul condenses into three words:

‘Love, war, respect’

‘Poignant love story’

‘Accomplished, sensuous, poignant’

 

Spring Chicken Book Club member Rebecca Masterman has shared her reading experience:

Over dinner, I found myself retelling small incidents and observations from this book to my husband, so clearly, in spite of my initial reservations and prejudged dislike, Last Letter from Istanbul has made an impression on me.Read More

 
The author’s writing style takes a little getting used to. A large amount of very short chapters, each from a specific character’s perspective, skipping back and forth in time and place.  A vast amount of incredibly short sentences, some only four or five words long and the most prolific use of the colon I have ever come across!  At times it reads like a play, with stage direction and the setting of scenes but once you overlook the awkward, erratic punctuation there are moments of absolute beauty and the use of the present tense is, as always, very evocative. Pomegranate sales will soar!

 

Spring Chicken Book Club member Sarah Tavenner has shared her favourite part:

I loved the evocative descriptions of life in old Istanbul before the war, the descriptions of the lives of the women in the wealthy household, how they spent their time and the Nurs memories of her childhood reflected back upon in her adulthood. Having visited the city some years ago I found the memories of the old palaces poignant.

 

Poem by Spring Chicken Book Club member Marilyn Anne Newton

Her name is Nur

She sees the silver bird flying through a clear blue sky

It glints in the sun and catches her eye.

 

Fifteen seconds pass slowly in the sun…

The sight brings happy memories to her mind

Little tinsel squares thrown at a joyous wedding

The tiny silver horse she had loved so much

in the bazaar

A sparkle of water in the market square

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Ten seconds pass, a leaf falls gently…

She smiles and squints in the sun

And closes one beautiful brown eye

The better to see her silver bird fly

 

Five seconds of love and light remain…

 

The sun has warmed her to sleepy dreaming

Creeping under the shade of her protective arm

And in playful loving and new thoughts waking

She touches her cheek…

 

The missile cost so many millions

So many gifts that could have been…

Perhaps for ten thousand children

And two worlds so much nearer

That death from the sky could never bring.

(with thanks to Allan Tierney)

 

Drawing comparisons with Last Letter from Istanbul:

‘There were nuances of The Bridges of Maddison County and Jane Eyre

Beverley Curry, Spring Chicken Book Club member

 

Review by Spring Chicken – Tony Gregory

Tony Gregory

This stunning novel is set with a backdrop of the Allied Occupation of Constantinople at the end of World War 1.

It examines many features of the human condition, but essentially it is a love story. A love story where the protagonists are on opposite sides and are classed as enemies.

The author tells the story through its four main characters, all of them greatly affected by the War and the damage and the risks that it has caused to them. Read More

The pace of the novel is slow, deliberately so, As the story unfolds, the reader can see that danger lies ahead without it becoming clear what form the consequence of the danger will take.

The main character, Nur, is meticulously portrayed. She moves from being an angry young woman, whose family home is occupied by the enemy and is used as a hospital, to developing a strong attraction to an English doctor who lives in the house.

The doctor looks after a sick Armenian boy, who has lived with Nur and had become part of her family. His life is in danger both because of his nationality and a very serious illness.

The climax of the story is compelling because it had begun to look inevitable, but the events that followed were unexpected.

Love was never spoken. However, what followed showed love in its purest form

A thoroughly enjoyable read by a skilled writer.  You will want to read more from Lucy Foley

 

 

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