Book Review: Many characters, clichés of World War II spoil the plot

The train journey serves the high point of the narrative. Last Train to Istanbul By Ayse Kulin Amazon Publishing Pages : 395 Price : Rs 399 Storytelling is a gift. A gift that empowers the writer with a sustained knack of drawing momentum from the destructive powers of his imagination, shaping suspense, and using the right moment to prowl and pounce on the reader’s instincts. The technique works in a variety of genres, historical fiction being one of them. It worked in Ian McEwan’s Atonement , and John Boyne’s The Boy in Striped Pyjamas— both of which were mined with the menace and macabre of the World War II. It was in these narratives that the history felt seamlessly conjoined with fiction, and the artificial simply appeared to loiter into the territories of the real, delightfully so. In Ayse Kulin’s Last Train to Istanbul , it is the staggering absence of all of the above which itches to the bones. In Last Train to Instanbul , the horrors of World War II emanate from Turkey, a country that maintained a precarious neutrality through most of the war, trading with the both the Axis and the allies until the final […]

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