Best Books By Elif Shafak
If you have been into reading for a while, then you must have heard the name of Elif Shafak. She is an award-winning Turkish author and has been loved by everyone around the globe because of her masterpieces. Starting from Turkish history to honor killing and Sufism, she has beautifully covered everything in her 18 books. Elif is a writer, human rights activist, public speaker, and active member of many organizations. She writes novels and non-fiction books so that the reader doesn’t find it hard to conclude. She tells the story intricately, and all the characters in her books are true to life.
She writes in Turkish and English, while her best books are translated into more than 50 languages. Confused about where to start reading? Here is a complete list of best books by Elif Shafak that will help you choose the one!
One of the most famous and most loved books by Elif Shafak is the Forty Rules of Love. Once you start reading this book, you can’t get over it. This is one of the best books of Elif Shafak as it has inspired many people and provoked many discussions.
In this book, the author discusses two stories in a parallel way; one is of Ella and Aziz while the other is of Shams and Rumi. Both these stories were happening in different timelines; however, she explains them so beautifully that readers find it super interesting. The author explains the true meaning of love, respect, life, existence, good, and bad.
The reader will get to know about forty rules of love portrayed through Tabraiz and Shams- Sufi figures. This novel narrates golden and precious lessons of life and makes us think that where we stand.
This another amazing novel of an Internationally bestselling author never fails to win the reader’s heart. It is all about a dramatic tale of love, family, and misunderstanding. The story is of twin sisters; both of them followed their own paths.
Elif has grabbed the attention of the reader in a unique way. At the beginning of the novel, the author tells us that Iskender has killed his mother just for the sake of family honor. This event arose curiosity among readers, and they kept on thinking, what honor of a family?
The author has discussed some of the bitter aspects of this judgmental society; however, the storyline is not something exceptional. He narrates about the immigrant Muslims that were living in England. At the end of the novel, the reader will surely question gender differences and cultural aspects.
While talking about books of Elif Shafak, how could I stop highlighting The Bastard of Istanbul? This novel of Elif made her renowned worldwide; she even had to spend three years in jail just because of the anti-turk sentiments discussed in the book.
In this book, the author tells us a passionate story with beauty, humor, and whimsy. Similar to many other novels, this novel also has two parallel stories, one of the modern age and the other of history. The story is about two families that were having some secret connection with the history of their homeland-Turkey.
The novel discusses the forbidden theme of Armenia and tells the Turkish identity post and pre-Ataturk. The book tells readers about the need to examine the desire, past and need to erase it, and all about Turkey.
The Flea Palace is an outstanding tragic novel that keeps the reader engaged till the end. Surprisingly, this story does not have any villains, heroes, or adventure; however, it still manages to keep readers hooked. The story is about a Bonbon Palace that was built on a graveyard in an apartment block of Istanbul.
Elif will take the reader from one apartment to another in a mesmerizing way, and with each move, she will keep on telling you some secrets. This slow-paced story has lots of characters and sometimes becomes difficult to read, but the beauty of stories lies in it. All the characters discussed were living together in the palace, but they were apart too!
5. Black Milk
Well, if you love to read novels of Elif Shafak and want to know more about her, then this book is a must-read for you. This book is a mixture of Elif’s autobiography and the journey of female authors. Black Milk is all about Elif’s story of motherhood and postpartum depression and how she copes with this.
After giving birth to her first child, Elif passed through a personal crisis, guilt, anxiety, and depression. For the first time in her life, she stopped writing as she was confused about her new maternal roles. The novel discusses her inner conflict, struggles, tears, and emotions.
Along with her story, she also tells us experiences of other female writers that help her find a smooth line between artistic creation and motherhood. The author tells us how being a writer affects her family life, and she also shares her insecurities. This book is embraced by everyone who has been into phase.
The 10 Minutes 38 Second in this Strange World is another one of the best novels by Elif Shafak. It is a moving novel about the strength of friendship in our difficult times. Moreover, it also highlights the societal norms and is for anyone who ever felt down because of this patriarchal society.
It is a story of a girl Leila who was thrown in a dumpster to die in Istanbul. Her life passes in her senses; her brain was working in the last 10 minutes and 38 seconds while her heart stopped. As the sun rises, she thinks not only about herself but also about every oppressed, disabled, and wrecked person.
With the death of Leila, the story doesn’t end; rather, it begins. In this dark world, Leila gets to know about essential bonds of friendship. Readers will get to know some amazing wonders and secrets of modern Istanbul, and readers will also know captivating tales of Leila with her friends.
7. The Gaze
The Gaze is a compelling and beautiful novel; in another word, this novel is a world of spectacles. Digesting is not everyone’s cup of tea; you will get to know that being seen and about seeing. It is one of the best books by Elif Shafak, and it comes with many layers of stories.
This book tells us that how a simple gaze could affect your life. How cruel the gaze of our society could be, how gaze affects our psychology, relations, lifestyle, and all other aspects of life. This story tells us how a gaze can change the way people see and what people want them to see.
It also narrates different aspects of seeing, gazing, watching, being seen without even really seeing.
Three Daughters of Eve is a story about Peri, Shirin, and Mona. These three girls were best friends and had a strong bond until a scandal broke them. They always argue about feminism and Islam as all of them are from different backgrounds.
Peri was a wealthy, married, and beautiful woman who was on the way to a party in Istanbul; during the ride, a beggar snatched her bag. She rushes back to get her bag while an old photograph falls on the ground. This picture was of a university professor with three young women. The picture takes her back to the past, which she tries her best to forget.
She started thinking about her traumatic childhood in Istanbul and student life in Oxford; she also remembered her professor, who used to ask questions with her and her best friends.
In this novel, Elif tells the tale of the Ottman Empire. In 1540, a boy named Jahan, 12-years old arrived in Istanbul, and he looked after the smart elephant of the Sultan and fell in love with the beautiful daughter of Sultan, Princess Mihrimah. For taking proper palace education, Jahan remains under the empire’s chief architect. The empire used to take Jahan with him everywhere where he went.
This book is a story about creativity, artistic freedom, and the clash between fundamentalism and science. The characters discussed in it are vibrant and depicts intriguing adventure. In short, it is a beautiful combination of love, loyalty, art, and history.
The Happiness of Blond People is another one of the best novels by Elif Shafak. This book gives the perception of immigrants the angst of multiculturalism. The author has also beautifully quoted many anecdotes and philosophers for everyone who intends to move to another country or is already living away from their homeland.
This amazing novel is a documentary of home builds and enriches the lives of many people. Whether you are living in your home or away, this book is a must-to-read. It also raises questions like why people leave their home for their country and tells the experiences of immigrants.