Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: Turkish
Translated from: English
Authors: Shafk, Elif
Translated by: Pulokas Gediminas
ISBN: 978-609-466-140-2
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2016
Publisher: Tyto alba

“The Flea Palace” is a comical novel about the daily lives of neighbors in an apartment complex.

The Bonbon Palace is an apartment building built on a burial ground in the centre of Istanbul. Ten different families and their stories are hidden inside the Bonbon palace. Some of the main figures of the story are twins hairstylists, Madam Auntie, a student Saidar and his dog named Gaba, grandpa Haji Haji and his relatives, as well as a nameless teller of the story which not only reveals his personal story but also talks about the details of his neighbors’ lives. The author of the story acknowledges that every person has many different traits and often can take on the wrong decisions. The trash that is left all around the territory of the household gets a lot of attention in the novel. The garbage constantly annoys the neighbors and becomes a parallel of their inappropriate behavior. As a story unravels, the characters start to understand that they are mostly bothered not by the filth, trash and parasites all around the household but by their own pricks of conscience. Thus in this book the author tries to answer the question of how to get rid of the endless filth in our lives. A variety of personalities of the characters in the book gives everyone an opportunity to relate their everyday lives with funny, ironic, and a little bit weird stories of residents of the household as well as to draw their own conclusions and learn their lessons.

The Bonbon Palace and the stories of its residents is a metaphor of the author’s hometown Istanbul. Elif Shafak while telling the story about creation of the Bonbon palace, the time of its prosperity and finally a transformation to a neglected, filthy household with an unpleasant smell but still full of life and action she really talks about the history of her lovely city Istanbul. The city, which in the past was thought to be powerful and mighty now has become maybe less successful and abandoned but still a big city full of variety of cultures and legends.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU