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Summary

There were six of us: the master, the apprentices and the white elephant. We built everything together...

Sixteenth century Istanbul: a stowaway arrives in the city bearing an extraordinary gift for the Sultan. The boy is utterly alone in a foreign land, with no worldly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare and valuable white elephant destined for the palace menagerie.

So begins an epic adventure that will see young Jahan rise from lowly origins to the highest ranks of the Sultan's court. Along the way he will meet deceitful courtiers and false friends, gypsies, animal tamers, and the beautiful, mischievous Princess Mihrimah. He will journey on Chota's back to the furthest corners of the Sultan's kingdom and back again. And one day he will catch the eye of the royal architect, Sinan, a chance encounter destined to change Jahan's fortunes forever.

©2014 Elif Shafak (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic reviews

"This is Shafak's most ambitious novel yet, and it is her best ..." ( The Independent)
"This edifying, emotionally forceful novel shows how hate and envy destroy, and how love might build the world anew ..." ( The Guardian)

What listeners say about The Architect's Apprentice

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

Spoiled by the narrator

The book is not about a boy's rise from rags to riches as the book description says. I can only think whoever wrote that did not read the book.
The book is in effect a series of interlinked short stories. They are well written & entertaining.
What spoiled the book for me was the narrator. He has a good clear voice but his frequent mis pronounciation of many words became extremely irritating. The narrator is telling the story in an English accent but tends to use the American pronounciation of many words. Many other words he just pronounces wrongly. It really spoilt tje book for me

7 people found this helpful

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Superb

I could not stop listening to this.....many hours lost on sleep as I kept extending the timer! :)

5 people found this helpful

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Great story, a bit long winded, bad narrator

I love Elif Shafak, this story is interesting immersive and informative - but it made me wish I had read it myself - the narrator really ruined it - dull- monotone and often mispronouncing words, what a shame

I was glad when it came to an end - I'm going to get the book

3 people found this helpful

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Evocative entertaining escapism

Like a Paolo Coelho novel but with more focus on the story than the message, this book captures the exotic remote world of Ottoman Istanbul as its protagonist lurches from love to architectural masterpiece like a 16tj Century Forrest Gump. Captivating escapism from modern life!

1 person found this helpful

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A trip to sixteenth century Ottoman Istanbul!

This is the second book by Elif Safak that I have read. I was not disappointed. Set in the 16th century it is based around the life of a boy who becomes apprentice to the most famous of all Ottoman Architects, Sinan. But nothing is what it appears. A wonderful story filled with vivid characters by a mistress of story telling. If you enjoy historical fiction you will like this.

1 person found this helpful

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A lyrical listen

I liked this book for its pace (as well as its unusual story line!!), reminiscent of Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori, a leisurely and respectful listen. And I liked to accent and tone of voice of the reader...at a guess, softly South African...lent itself well to the subject and our hero being foreigner in Istambul. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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for fans of the Arabian Nights

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

I would recommend this to lovers of flowery language and pious aphorisms, and lots of patience. Many would say it is beautifully written At first I was fascinated by the setting, 16th century Istanbul of which I know nothing and found Eli Shafak's account enlightening. Despite the hero, Jehan's many narrow escapes, each came to seem like the one before.The plot moved too slowly for me and I couldn't empathise with any of the characters.

If you’ve listened to books by Elif Shafak before, how does this one compare?

na

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I found the narrator's voice and tone monotonous.

Could you see The Architect's Apprentice being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Probably. It would be very PC and look gorgeous. Probably best made in Bollywood

1 person found this helpful

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Great book let down by irritating reader

I enjoyed the book very much & would highly recommend it - but the reader’s frequent mispronunciations were a constant irritation. I lost count of the number of words he appeared unfamiliar with - couldn’t he have asked someone how to pronounce words he hadn’t heard before, or looked them up?

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Enthralling

Fascinating look at the Ottoman Empire, from the lowly lives to the highest in the land. It is such a visual book that I feel as if I have been to Istanbul and didn't notice my covid lockdown life so long as I kept reading. With Grant Cartwright's narration, he brought everything so brilliantly written to life, superb.

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Interesting in parts, especially about elephants.

I also quite enjoyed the lengths architects go to, but the story was not gripping and it sort of fizzled out (for me) a bit. It was far too slow and the love life part barely held any attention for me at all.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-01-21

Enchanting!

A captivating story taking you back to the heart of the Ottoman empire. Beautifully narrated. A masterpiece.