Posts From Author: architecture

The Argument From Design

The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak Viking, 2014; 432pp In a world of inter-religious conflict, plague, and natural disasters, the most elegant teleology may be found in architecture. This is Elif Shafak‘s proposition in her ambitious new novel, The Architect’s Apprentice. Shafak is the mostly widely read female writer in Turkey, has 1.7 million Twitter followers, and in 2010 she was made a chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She writes regularly for the Guardian on feminism, human rights, and the state of democracy in Turkey. Although The Architect’s Apprentice is a historical novel, set mostly in the sixteenth century in Istanbul, its author’s very contemporary concerns flow through it. Inspired by an image in Gulru Necipoglu’s The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire, Shafak sets out to imagine the world and the people outside the frame of official history. As she describes it in her author’s note: it was a painting of Sultan Suleiman, tall and sleek in his kaftan. But it was the figures in the background that intrigued me. There was an elephant and a mahout [elephant tamer] in front of the Suleimaniye Mosque; they were hovering on the edge of the picture, as if ready to run away, unsure as […]
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