Review: Last Train to Istanbul by Ayşe Kulin

Last Train to IstanbulLast Train to Istanbul by Ayşe Kulin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My book was an advance Reader’s copy and published by Amazoncrossing.

This is the story of several Turkish refugees and how they managed to escape from the Nazis while living in the occupied France.

Following an ancient tradition, started during the Ottoman Empire in 15th-century, the Turkish diplomats made a huge effort in order to preserve the life of their citizens since Turkey remained neutral during World War II. Despite its neutrality, Turkey was still selling copper to Germany. In addition, Churchill didn’t keep his word regarding the provision of financial and military help.

The only way to bring back the Turkish refugees, among them some were Jews, was to arrange a train by the Turkish diplomats in Marseilles and Paris, which would bring most of them, including some other nationalities, specially from the Balkans, in a special train.

In the first part of the book, we are presented to the main personages of this story: Selva and her Jewish husband, Rafael Alfandari; after have married against her family’s wishes since they were Moslem, they decided to move to Marseilles. In the meantime, her sister, Sabiha and her husband Macit were constantly worried with them since the Nazis started to persecute the Jews living in France.

It is quite an enjoyable and fast-paced reading. According to the author, this book is not based in a true story. In my opinion, a movie version based on this book can easily be made.

NetGalley kindly sent this uncorrected proof of this book. Thank you so much.


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