In the ambit of Turkish literature, Elif Shafak is a titan. Lately, she has also been gaining more international recognition. In 2019, her novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction. She has also made a recent literary comeback with her 12th novel, The Island of Missing Trees. She was also known for being critical of local politics. Her works are brimming with political intersections. Heading butts with the government and Turkish sentiments, she found herself attracting litigation proceedings. In fact, for her she nearly got imprisoned for her sixth novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, a book that discusses the Armenian genocide and the Turkish government’s continued denial of it as an act of genocide. For this quotable quote update, I am sharing some lines and passages from this controversial book that has left an impression on me.
Do check out my complete review of this literary work by clicking here.
“But my point is, she doesn’t know that we do! Alzheimer’s is not as terrible as it sounds. The past is nothing but a shackle we need to get rid of. Such an excruciating burden. If only I could have no past – you know, if only I could be a nobody, start from point zero and just remain there forever. As light as a feather!”~ Elif Shafak, The Bastard of Istanbul
“To her way of thinking, anyone who can’t rise up and rebel, anyone devoid of the ability to dissent, cannot really be said to be alive. In resistance lies the key to life. The rest of the people fall into two camps: the vegetables, who are fine with everything, and the tea glasses, who though not fine with numerous things, lack the strength to confront. It is the latter that are the worse of the two.”~ Elif Shafak, The Bastard of Istanbul
“Ways of loving from a distance, mating without even touching – Amor platonicus! The ladder of love one is expected to climb higher and higher, elating the Self and the Other. Plato clearly regards any actual physical contact as corrupt and ignoble because he thinks the true goal of Eros is beauty. Is there no beauty in sex? Not according to Plato. He is after more sublime pursuits. But if you ask me, I think Plato’s problem, like those of many others, was that he never got splendidly laid.”~ Elif Shafak, The Bastard of Istanbul
“It is a scientifically known fact that collectivities are capable of manipulating their individual members’ beliefs, thoughts, and even bodily reactions. You keep hearing a certain story over and over again, and the next thing you know you have internalized the narrative. From that moment on it ceases to be someone else’s story. It is not even a story anymore, but reality, your reality!”~ Elif Shafak, The Bastard of Istanbul
“All I know about my past is that something wasn’t right, and I can’t attain that informtation. For me, history starts today, you see? There is no continuity in time. You can’t feel attached to ancestors if you can’t even trace your own father. Maybe I will never be able to learn my father’s name. If I keep thinking about it, I’ll go nuts. So I say to myself, why do you want to unearth the secrets? Don’t you see that the past is a vicious circle? It is a loop. It sucks us in and makes us run like a hamster on a wheel. Then we start to repeat ourselves, again and again.”