The Flea Palace
Elif Shafak

Chosen for the Waterstone's Discovers Promotion 2006

The first novel by Elif Shafak to be translated into English from Turkish. Essential reading for fans of her later novels, The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love.

Keen irony and humour amongst the cats and tomb thieves of Istanbul

The setting is a stately residence in Istanbul built by Russian noble émigré Pavel Antipov for his wife Agripina at the end of the Tsarist reign, now sadly dilapidated, flea-infested, and home to ten families. Shafak uses the narrative structure of A Thousand and One Nights to construct a story-within-a-story narrative. Inhabitants include Ethel, a lapsed Jew in search of true love and the sad and beautiful Blue Mistress whose personal secret provides the novel with an unforgettable denouement. Add to this a strange, intensifying stench whose cause is revealed at the end of the book, and we have a metaphor for the cultural and spiritual decay in the heart of Istanbul

'Shafak can switch from a picareque tale of a father and son's broken noses to astute observations of how strangely depair and love manifest themselves without pausing.' The Guardian

'A cast of wacky flat-dwellers lend it punch and pizazz' The Independent

Elif Shafak
was born in 1971 in Strasbourg,and spent her teenage years in Spain, before returning to Turkey. She has become an outstanding name amongst young Turkish authors. She has written seven novels, and won the Mevlana Prize for the best work in mystical and transcendental literature. Her latest novels are The Bastard of Istanbul (Penguin) and The Forty Rules of Love (Penguin) to be published in June 2010.

To read an extract of this title click here

Price: £7.99/$14.95
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-7145-3120-5
Publication: July 2005 / reprint March 2010/

From 2011, The Flea Palace is published by Penguin in the UK, and by Viking in the USA.

Cover design: Eleanor Rose

Photograph: Sally Mundy