3 Books Set in the Middle East by Andre Aciman, Elif Shafak and Naguib Mahfouz

3 Books Set in the Middle East by Andre Aciman, Elif Shafak and Naguib Mahfouz

The Architect’s Apprentice’ by a Turkish writer, Elif Shafak

The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak

Through a young apprentice, the Indian boy called Jahan, we travel to the 16th century Istanbul during the times of the Ottoman Empire under the reign of three sultans: Suleyman, Salim and Murad. We meet many historical figures including Mimar Sinan, the famed architect of that era responsible for construction of over 300 buildings such as the Suleymaniye Mosque, the Selimiye Mosque, Mehmed Pasha Mosque and the bridge on the River Drina in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With Jahan, we also travel to the 16th century Rome, Agra in India during the time of Taj Mahal building. We learn about the Ottoman Empire and Mughal India.

‘The Architect’s Apprentice’ resembles ‘Thousand and One Nights’ consisting of many vignettes. The language is poetic, elegant, sublime, imaginative and just delightful; and the mixture of historical facts and fiction is remarkable.

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