Regular price: £16.89

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Basket

New to Audible?

Your first audiobook is free
£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Born into privilege to one of the last Ottoman pashas, beautiful, spirited Selva is the brightest jewel in her father’s household - until she falls in love with Rafael Alfandari. Though Turkey has long been a safe haven for Jews, marriage between a high-ranking Muslim girl and a Jewish boy is strictly forbidden. Yet young love will not be denied, and Selva and Rafael defy their parents and marry, fleeing to Paris in hopes of a better life - only to find themselves trapped in the path of the invading Nazis.

But in the midst of darkness shines a beacon of hope: A handful of courageous Turkish diplomats, protected only by the tenuous neutrality of their homeland, hatch a daring plot to spirit the exiled lovers and hundreds of innocent Jews to safety. Together, they will traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in one last, desperate bid for freedom.

©2002 Ayşe Kulin (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Ayşe Kulin is a clever writer. She draws the reader into the story of the life and loves of a Turkish family in wartime, and by the time the reader realizes that she has also cranked up the tension with a rescue plot, it is too late to put the book down unfinished. For aficionados of wartime novels, as well as for anyone glued to his or her seat watching the film Argo, this is a must read." (Helen Bryan, best-selling author of War Brides and The Sisterhood)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    17
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Pen
  • Yorkshire, UK
  • 19-06-15

Disappointing, for me - it could have been so much better

What disappointed you about Last Train to Istanbul?

A slightly biased and perhaps idealised view of Turkey and life there, much as I love the country, the people and the food. The basis of the story was good, interesting (indeed, deeply fascinating in places), well researched, and it seemed well written, as far as one can tell from the American translation. However, it could have been so much stronger, and provided greater depth. I was interested because part of my family were/are from Turkey, with links also to France and Marseilles. The children were astonishingly well behaved, so little trouble to their parents - not requiring the usual amount of attention and care, even in illness!

Would you ever listen to anything by Ayse Kulin again?

No

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes

What character would you cut from Last Train to Istanbul?

There is no need for that; all characters were a necessary part of the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting story

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes. Story is quite captivating and intriguing. Although some characters did not really have development, e.g. Sabiha. It feels like it was cut short.

Would you be willing to try another book from Ayse Kulin? Why or why not?

Yes. I already have another book from her, so will be reading/listening to that next.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Sometimes the reading was a bit fast, and at the beginning it was a bit monotonous, but the pace and the style changed at the end.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No. I don't think it would be done well in the cinema, unless they tie the loose ends.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing and confusing

What would have made Last Train to Istanbul better?

It was difficult to distinguish between the characters and the story introduced characters part way through which added to the confusion.

What will your next listen be?

Not sure yet - something easy listening

What aspect of Sanjiv Jhaveri’s performance might you have changed?

They did too many accents and the Turkish ones were difficult to understand and the French characters all sounded the same which meant it was hard to follow. Less accents would have helped

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Well I haven't managed to finish it, but I would say it highlighted a hidden part of world war 2 in that I hadn't previously thought about the Turkish side of things.

Any additional comments?

I wish this had been better as the idea of an interweaving family story in World War Two from a Turkish perspective is fascinating. However it's difficult to keep track of characters and the story's pace is very slow. The many and varying accents don't help. I can't help but feel I would have enjoyed this better if it had more neutral narration. I have the kindle book so maybe I will finish this myself. I can't recommend the audio version.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

magnifique

absolutely brilliant totally breathtaking and perfect, well narrated and the writer uses such delicious prose

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story, weird performance

overall it is an interesting book, captivating. the narrator was a bit weird with the different accents and high voice for women.
would still recommend

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Awful Performance

I will gladly give the book a second chance, I ended up getting it as a free download on Kindle I think, but the Audible production is just awful. I couldn't finish it because the performance is just so poor. Jhaveri sounds like one of those tannoy announcements on the train station when they are saying all the stops the coming train will make. Of course, all of those station names have been individually recorded, and then just put together for the announcement. That's how this reader sounds! There is no flow to anything he says, each word sounds like a random, individual recording put together for a single announcement. Absolutely awful. If I were Kulin, I would be miffed at best!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Painful, like a train ride across europe

There is a good story here, set against interesting history surrounding the role of Turkish diplomacy in WW2 and its Jewish population. Sadly this is butchered by poor writing and/or translation, and annoying narration: imagine screeching women let loose onto the world of "Hello Hello"........

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A book not to be missed

loved this book and the presentation. Didn't want it to end. It was very moving.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book with gripping plot

I enjoyed this book more then I expected to! Hard to put down, real pleasure to listen.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

just couldn't get into it sorry

just couldn't do it and it's the first time I've left a book without finishing it..

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anna at a Wondrous Bookshelf
  • 21-05-15

3-Stars

Last Train To Istanbul is a beautiful work of historical fiction about two privileged Muslim Turkish sisters–Selva and Sabiha. Sabiha marries a prominent Turkish diplomat, and Selva falls in love and marries a Turkish Jew–Rafael Alfandari. Selva and Rafael are shunned by her family, and move to Paris shortly before the Nazi German invasion in World War II.

What I really appreciated about this novel was Ayse Kulin’s extensive research about that period of history, and I loved to learn about WWII from a Turkish perspective. It’s a beautiful story of hope and courage. Many times WWII books are difficult to read due to the horrible accounts of the Holocaust, but this book kept me very interested and the narration by Sanjiv Jhaveri was just perfect. His accent and all the accents portrayed were essential to the atmosphere of this book.

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in historical fiction and WWII novels.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Halit Pinar, MD
  • 02-01-15

Problematic Narration

Would you try another book from Ayse Kulin and/or Sanjiv Jhaveri?

Ayse Kulin is a very talented writer but the narrator, Sanjiv Jhaveri was not the right choice for her book. When he tries to read the conversation with a "Turkish accent" he sounds awful. If the producers listen to a Turkish person reading or speaking English with an accent, they will immediately realize their error. This book really should be redone because the book itself is excellent.

Would you be willing to try another book from Ayse Kulin? Why or why not?

Yes. She is a very talented story teller.

What didn’t you like about Sanjiv Jhaveri’s performance?

As I discussed previously, he was the wrong choice for a book written by a Turkish author.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Last Train to Istanbul?

The entire project needs to be redone.

Any additional comments?

The producers should do their homework before they undertake a project. The field became very competitive and there are books with incredible narration.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marion Marshall
  • 28-07-14

Great narrator...good story

What made the experience of listening to Last Train to Istanbul the most enjoyable?

The narrator's voice really transported you to a different place

What was one of the most memorable moments of Last Train to Istanbul?

Several moments on the train had me holding my breath.

What about Sanjiv Jhaveri’s performance did you like?

Consistent. The story is told from various points of view but without using silly voices the narrator conveys each story in a respectful and wonderful way.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • M.L.L.
  • 21-11-15

A disorganized mess.

2 1/2 stars. This book sounded so good. Unfortunately the result is an uncohesive compilation of POVs of more than 14 characters. Many of the vignettes are barely related to the storyline. Most of the characters aren't even likeable. I listened to this book on audiobook and most of the voices are annoying as well. The husbands are all verbally abusive to their wives. One man even rapes his wife. The psyciatrist is especially loathesome. He seduces his patient while psychoanalyzing her. Let me undress you as you tell me about your relationship with your 8 year old daughter. Creepy! Near the end there was suddenly an erotic semi-public scene between two random characters. It was unexpected and made me uncomfortable. I didn't even know these characters so I skipped ahead. Then I discovered it was actually a rape by a random german soldier. Next we had a minor character die in his sleep. Neither of these scenes or characters were really plot pertinate. Finally we come to the finale we have all beeen waiting for. The relief of safety and the long awaited reuniting of estranged families. Except it cuts off before you get reuniting of estranged families. Except it cuts off before you get closure. A book full of background details of minor characters fails to provide details of the resolution of the main plot and characters. It was unsatisfying.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-05-18

Bad narrator

I read the print version of this book and it’s a great story! I loved it! I can no longer read printed books because of my eyesight. I thought this would be a good listen, but the narrator sounds like a ten year old and just can’t listen to him! I can’t follow the story because I get distracted by the awful narration!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nikki
  • 28-02-18

amazing view of world war 2 you never knew existed

Ayse took me on a journey I never would have expected. Thank you for broadening my horizons. I couldn't leave until the train arrived.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • K. Maver
  • 19-01-18

Awful, awful, awful narrator

I could not deal with this narrator. He had the same speech patterns over and over. I wanted to listen to this to break up the monotony of a long road trip. After about three chapters, I had to turn it off. It was not “performed.” It was read with limited inflection. It might be a great book. I couldn’t get past the reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lana Lee Plum
  • 13-10-16

A Train ride to life.

Loved this book it is a demonstration of how prejudice of any kind can reek destruction in lives of innocence people. Even modern societies can become inhuman when guided by prejudice ideas. Look at Nazi Germany. This is the story of Turkish citizens fleeing France in 1941. They saved themselves and some Jewish refugees by sending train car to take them to Turkey. Excellent narration and well written story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Dragon-Fox
  • 24-07-16

I want my $1 back!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A narrator who did not read the story as if it were being read to a 2 year old.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Sanjiv Jhaveri?

I love Gwendoline Christie for everything!

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

not that I could fine. I could not by any means read to through the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ASL4U
  • 27-06-16

Different perspective - good story!

I enjoyed this book way more than i expected to. It took a couple tries to get into it - because i have no context for Turkey and their place in the war.. But i'm really glad i stuck with it. New context - and people that i'm sure will come back to me later. I also have unanswered questions - like was that the right man Marcel tripped? And did Constance recover? - over all a really good read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful