The Architect’s Apprentice is a historical fiction novel by Elif Shafak that follows the life of Jahan, a 12-year-old boy from an Indian village who ends up on a ship sailing to the Ottoman court of Suleiman the Magnificent with his pet albino elephant, Chota. The Architect’s Apprentice has been translated into Farsi by Ali Salami.
Jahan impresses the Ottoman court’s chief architect, Mimar Sinan, and becomes one of his four apprentices. He falls in love with the sultan’s daughter, Mihrimah, and assists Sinan in constructing famous buildings such as the Suleimaniye and Selimiye Mosques. The novel is set in a palace full of intrigue, where Jahan’s questionable habits, such as shoplifting, may ruin him if he isn’t careful. Shafak is known for mixing Western literary devices with Ottoman fantasy and for taking on sensitive political topics.
Elif Shafak, a Turkish-British novelist, essayist, public speaker, political scientist, and activist, has published 19 works in Turkish and English. Her novels, which include The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, Three Daughters of Eve, and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, have been translated into 55 languages and have been nominated for several literary awards. She is regarded as Turkey’s leading female novelist and has written on themes related to Eastern and Western culture, women’s roles in society, and human rights issues. Her novels have also featured Istanbul prominently. However, her works have landed her in legal trouble with Turkish authorities, prompting her to emigrate to the United Kingdom. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and is an advocate for women’s rights, minority rights, and freedom of speech.
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