The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay is a kaleidoscopic, genre-bending historical suspense thriller that's sprawling in its ambitions, with three twining narratives, one set in 2003 in Las Vegas, another set in Venice in 1595 (featuring a former Ottoman janissary), and the third in Venice Beach, California in the 1958. It’s not easy to write historical fiction, let alone to easily pull it off when it weaves between the past and the present, never mind the challenge of a good suspense novel. ...in the end, Seay's ambitions don’t match his present abilities.
Sabahattin Ali's Madonna in a Fur Coat (Kürk Mantolu Madonna) has been touted by a number of reviewers as a reemerging popular novel in Turkey, a love story that speaks to young Turks after the Gezi Park protests that took over central Istanbul in June 2013. The book has solidly held its place on bestseller lists in Turkey from as early as 2011, suggesting that there has been a longing for a novel like this one, 57 years after its initial publication. As Ralph Hubbell writes in the Tin House blog, a certain nostalgia scents the air, one for a time when Turkey's economy was on the rise, and indeed before the even deeper polarization of the 2017 presidential referendum.
There are many books out there about the history of Istanbul. Anything from titles on Byzantium (John Julius Norwich's three-volume bonanza comes to mind) and the Ottoman Empire, to works on the Turkish Republic, can help one grasp this city’s long history. If one has been lucky enough to have lived in this chaotic, beautiful, and difficult city, one is struck by the sense that, beneath the everyday, and even the visible layers of history, there are more layers.