Born into privilege to one of the last Ottoman pashas, beautiful, spirited Selva is the brightest jewel in her father’s household - until she falls in love with Rafael Alfandari. Though Turkey has long been a safe haven for Jews, marriage between a high-ranking Muslim girl and a Jewish boy is strictly forbidden. Yet young love will not be denied, and Selva and Rafael defy their parents and marry, fleeing to Paris in hopes of a better life - only to find themselves trapped in the path of the invading Nazis.
But in the midst of darkness shines a beacon of hope: A handful of courageous Turkish diplomats, protected only by the tenuous neutrality of their homeland, hatch a daring plot to spirit the exiled lovers and hundreds of innocent Jews to safety. Together, they will traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in one last, desperate bid for freedom.
©2002 Ayşe Kulin (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Ayşe Kulin is a clever writer. She draws the reader into the story of the life and loves of a Turkish family in wartime, and by the time the reader realizes that she has also cranked up the tension with a rescue plot, it is too late to put the book down unfinished. For aficionados of wartime novels, as well as for anyone glued to his or her seat watching the film Argo, this is a must read." (Helen Bryan, best-selling author of War Brides and The Sisterhood)
A wonderful Wife & Mother, trying to find time for myself. Love to loose myself in the moment, listening to a fantastic audio book.
I enjoyed the storyline & the narrator was excellent. At one point I felt the story was predicable. But OT was still an enjoyable journey with the families from France to Turkey.
It seemed to drag on and was quite boring for most of it. I liked the story though but it seemed Selwa was a bit irritating.
It takes a while to get going, and the writing style is a bit choppy in places, but that could be down to translation.
I never really connected with any of the characters, some because I didn't particularly like them and others because they seemed to be randomly introduced to the story and never developed into anything that was really relevant?
Certain elements seemed unnecessary - Sabiha, her daughter, and the psychoanalyst - what was the point? The rape on the train, why, the train journey was harrowing enough and the story never followed through on it anyway. I felt the train journey was a very significant part of the story, yet it was crammed in at the end of the book and left a lot of loose ends.
However, as a historical fiction book it was quite interesting and did give some insight into the plight of the Turkish people during the war.
I found myself unable to care what happened to any of these characters. In particular the sisters. One is just outright obnoxious, more interested in pretty much everything other than protecting her son. The other is unable to love her own daughter because when she was growing up her younger sister was slightly taller and therefore her jealousy from childhood has left her emotionally stunted. The narration lacked emotion. The random rape in the train carriage, really, was that necessary???
Ayse Kulin is a very talented writer but the narrator, Sanjiv Jhaveri was not the right choice for her book. When he tries to read the conversation with a "Turkish accent" he sounds awful. If the producers listen to a Turkish person reading or speaking English with an accent, they will immediately realize their error. This book really should be redone because the book itself is excellent.
Yes. She is a very talented story teller.
As I discussed previously, he was the wrong choice for a book written by a Turkish author.
The entire project needs to be redone.
The producers should do their homework before they undertake a project. The field became very competitive and there are books with incredible narration.
"Need my money back on this one"
so confusing . so boring. what was the plot??? Please exchange this for another one please
Last Train To Istanbul is a beautiful work of historical fiction about two privileged Muslim Turkish sisters–Selva and Sabiha. Sabiha marries a prominent Turkish diplomat, and Selva falls in love and marries a Turkish Jew–Rafael Alfandari. Selva and Rafael are shunned by her family, and move to Paris shortly before the Nazi German invasion in World War II.
What I really appreciated about this novel was Ayse Kulin’s extensive research about that period of history, and I loved to learn about WWII from a Turkish perspective. It’s a beautiful story of hope and courage. Many times WWII books are difficult to read due to the horrible accounts of the Holocaust, but this book kept me very interested and the narration by Sanjiv Jhaveri was just perfect. His accent and all the accents portrayed were essential to the atmosphere of this book.
I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in historical fiction and WWII novels.
"Great narrator...good story"
The narrator's voice really transported you to a different place
Several moments on the train had me holding my breath.
Consistent. The story is told from various points of view but without using silly voices the narrator conveys each story in a respectful and wonderful way.
"Different perspective - good story!"
I enjoyed this book way more than i expected to. It took a couple tries to get into it - because i have no context for Turkey and their place in the war.. But i'm really glad i stuck with it. New context - and people that i'm sure will come back to me later. I also have unanswered questions - like was that the right man Marcel tripped? And did Constance recover? - over all a really good read.
"A disorganized mess."
2 1/2 stars. This book sounded so good. Unfortunately the result is an uncohesive compilation of POVs of more than 14 characters. Many of the vignettes are barely related to the storyline. Most of the characters aren't even likeable. I listened to this book on audiobook and most of the voices are annoying as well. The husbands are all verbally abusive to their wives. One man even rapes his wife. The psyciatrist is especially loathesome. He seduces his patient while psychoanalyzing her. Let me undress you as you tell me about your relationship with your 8 year old daughter. Creepy! Near the end there was suddenly an erotic semi-public scene between two random characters. It was unexpected and made me uncomfortable. I didn't even know these characters so I skipped ahead. Then I discovered it was actually a rape by a random german soldier. Next we had a minor character die in his sleep. Neither of these scenes or characters were really plot pertinate. Finally we come to the finale we have all beeen waiting for. The relief of safety and the long awaited reuniting of estranged families. Except it cuts off before you get reuniting of estranged families. Except it cuts off before you get closure. A book full of background details of minor characters fails to provide details of the resolution of the main plot and characters. It was unsatisfying.
"Promising but halting"
I think the translation impacted flow of this book. The sentences themselves were often halting -- beautiful, thoughtful descriptions interrupted with mundane adverbs. The pace of the book was quite slow as well though perhaps the slow narration contributed to thae overall molasses feeling.
I would consider listening to this author again but I would check on the translator and editor first.
It is unlikely that I would choose another book with this narrator as I found his reading very slow. I did appreciate the emotion he brought to the story and the ways he distinguished the characters through tone.
Brave courageous people in a chaotic world.
I didn't know anything about the train to Istanbul and its history so I found that fascinating that Turkey saved her Jews living in France.
He has a nice method of speaking.
First train to the rest of your life.
"From the perspective of more privileged yet equally desperate"
In general, it was interesting. Most of the World war II stories are about poor people going through extreme hardships. In a way, more desperate and heartbreaking the stories are, more people tend to read them. I liked this book because it gives one a different view on different kind of survivors. Yes, they were rich and privileged before the war and that gave them higher chance of survival. But they were also going through turmoil and desperation to live. Brownie points for new point of view.
Performance wise, I thought the accents were bit annoying at first, but got used to it. In fact, it helped me to differentiate the characters a bit, so narrator did a great job.
"A Train ride to life."
Loved this book it is a demonstration of how prejudice of any kind can reek destruction in lives of innocence people. Even modern societies can become inhuman when guided by prejudice ideas. Look at Nazi Germany. This is the story of Turkish citizens fleeing France in 1941. They saved themselves and some Jewish refugees by sending train car to take them to Turkey. Excellent narration and well written story.
"Disappointing and confusing"
It was difficult to distinguish between the characters and the story introduced characters part way through which added to the confusion.
Not sure yet - something easy listening
They did too many accents and the Turkish ones were difficult to understand and the French characters all sounded the same which meant it was hard to follow. Less accents would have helped
Well I haven't managed to finish it, but I would say it highlighted a hidden part of world war 2 in that I hadn't previously thought about the Turkish side of things.
I wish this had been better as the idea of an interweaving family story in World War Two from a Turkish perspective is fascinating. However it's difficult to keep track of characters and the story's pace is very slow. The many and varying accents don't help. I can't help but feel I would have enjoyed this better if it had more neutral narration. I have the kindle book so maybe I will finish this myself. I can't recommend the audio version.
"Great book with gripping plot"
I enjoyed this book more then I expected to! Hard to put down, real pleasure to listen.
"just couldn't get into it sorry"
just couldn't do it and it's the first time I've left a book without finishing it..
"WWII from a different perspective."
A story following the turbulent times of a group of mainly Turkish Jews, as they try to flee to the safety of Istanbul from Paris during WWII. It is a tale from a different perspective from the norm, which I found gave this story a unique quality.
Although I found this book quite hard to get into at first, I persevered and it was definitely well worth it. After getting to know the characters, the story was full of suspense and I was wiling them all to survive.
"Disappointing, for me - it could have been so much better"
A slightly biased and perhaps idealised view of Turkey and life there, much as I love the country, the people and the food. The basis of the story was good, interesting (indeed, deeply fascinating in places), well researched, and it seemed well written, as far as one can tell from the American translation. However, it could have been so much stronger, and provided greater depth. I was interested because part of my family were/are from Turkey, with links also to France and Marseilles. The children were astonishingly well behaved, so little trouble to their parents - not requiring the usual amount of attention and care, even in illness!
There is no need for that; all characters were a necessary part of the story.
Yes. Story is quite captivating and intriguing. Although some characters did not really have development, e.g. Sabiha. It feels like it was cut short.
Yes. I already have another book from her, so will be reading/listening to that next.
Sometimes the reading was a bit fast, and at the beginning it was a bit monotonous, but the pace and the style changed at the end.
No. I don't think it would be done well in the cinema, unless they tie the loose ends.
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