Famous Books about Istanbul

Famous Books about Istanbul

Famous Books about Istanbul

Famous Books about Istanbul

Istanbul, a city like an endless novel and an endless song, affects every person differently. Istanbul, each part of which is full of mystery and adventure, also endears writers to itself with its beauty. Istanbul homes several pockets of civilizations living side-by-side. It is a metropole that has given birth to some of the most creative cultures and is a living memorial to the crossroads it has served for centuries. Until now, numerous poems, novels, stories, essays have been written about Istanbul, which has endless natural beauties. 

Turkey's bustling capital is home to more than 14 million people, making it the biggest city in the whole country. Over time, Istanbul has shaped up to be an amalgamation of different cultures, making it one of the most vibrant and welcoming cities in Europe. If you're looking for a good read with an authentic portrayal of Istanbul life, here are books that will keep you entertained throughout your Istanbul vacation.

Istanbul (Orhan Pamuk, 2003)

The Nobel laureate recounts his childhood in Istanbul. His depiction of hüzün, a distinctively Turkish sort of sorrow, is aided by atmospheric black-and-white photographs. The book is full of memories by Pamuk and literary essays by writers with ties to Istanbul, as well as images by Ara Güler, a well-known photojournalist, and other photographers picked by Pamuk.

A Mind at Peace (Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, 1949)

Even Orhan Pamuk considers this book is the best one about Istanbul. It is both a tribute. It is a poetic ode to both the city and human love. Tanpinar's chef d'ouevre, a historical novel of ideas as well as a love story set in the "city of two continents," was chosen by a Turkish parliamentary leader to deliver to President Obama for him to "better comprehend the Turkish people."

The Bastard of Istanbul (Elif Şafak, 2006)

The bestseller from one of Turkey's most popular writers bringing together the stormy past and the complex present in a way that is enchanting, educational, and heartbreaking.

Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924 (Philip Mansel, 1995)

A fascinating and engrossing cultural, social, and political history of the city in its prime. It's full of anecdotes and knowledge, and it's always surprising and, at times, scary.

The Museum of Innocence (Orhan Pamuk, 2008)

Another famous novel from Orhan Pamuk about Istanbul. The novel spawned an actual museum, The Museum of Innocence, which opened in Cihangir and was inspired by the novel. The Museum of Innocence, set in Istanbul between 1975 and the present, tells the story of Kemal, the son of one of the city's wealthiest families, and his obsessive love for a poor and distant relative, the lovely Fusun, who works as a shopgirl in a modest boutique. As it follows this long, obsessive love affair between Kemal and Fusun, the novel presents a panoramic perspective of life in Istanbul, and Pamuk eloquently conveys the identity crisis experienced by Istanbul's upper classes who find themselves caught between traditional and westernized ways of being.