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The Flea Palace

The Flea Palace by Elif Shafak, ISBN: 9780714531014
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ISBN: 9780714531014
Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
Published: 27 April, 2004
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Links Australian Libraries (Trove)

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The Flea Palace

Set within a once-stately apartment block in Istanbul, The Flea Palace tells the story of Bonbon Palace, built by a Russian emigre for his wife at the end of the Tsarist reign, now sadly dilapidated, flea-infested and home to ten very different individuals and their families. Shafak uses the narrative structure of A Thousand and One Nights to construct a story-within-a-story, as the mystery of the apartment's stolen garbage is considered from a variety of perspectives. There is the narrator, a womanizing, raki-swilling academic with a penchant for Kierkegaard; Hygiene Tijen, the 'clean freak', and her lice-ridden daughter Su; madly flamboyant Ethel, a lapsed Jew in search of true love, and the charmingly naive Blue Mistress whose personal secret is just one of many hidden within the confines of the building. Add to this a strange, intensifying stench, the cause of which is revealed at the end of the book, and we have a metaphoric conduit for the cultural and spiritual decay at the heart of Istanbul.

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