Thursday, March 3, 2011
The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas
I was completely charmed by this unexpected fairy tale of a novel which tells of a young stowaway in a rug-seller's trunk who travels by boat to Stamboul, the city at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Stamboul is a city shrouded in mystery & incense, colored with bazaars & sunsets, and clamorous with music & many tongues. It may be universal that children, unfettered as they are by knowledge of the world, nourish the seed of hope that they might be discovered to possess unusual skills or talents, or that they be discovered to be gifted, or beautiful beyond compare. I remember that wonderful dream myself; the softness of the velvets surrounding me, the sweetness of the fruits given me, the brillance of the ribbons decorating my clothes and hair. No matter that my life was nothing of the sort.
This novel has the flavor of an old fairy tale but with an indescribable freshness that makes even a world-weary curmudgeon remember days breaking bright and fresh with possibility and fantasy. The descriptions play to the western mind, wreathed as they are in eastern mystery and intrigue. The unencumbered ending was as suprising and unexpected as were the revelations carefully unfolded in preceding chapters. We feel something, and it is wistfulness.
This book is entirely suitable for readers from age 12. It is especially recommended for those who think they are too old for fairy tales.