The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak

The Architect's Apprentice

Elif Shafak

This story sucked me in from the start. It is absorbing, dreamlike and thoughtful. If you like to be transported to worlds beyond your own time and place, this is the book for you.

Extract

Of all the people God created and Sheitan led astray, only a few have discovered the Centre of the Universe – where there is no good and no evil, no past and no future, no ‘I’ and no ’thou’, no war and no reason for war, just an endless sea of calm. What they found there was so beautiful that they lost their ability to speak.

The angels, taking pity on them, offered two choices. If they wishes to regain their voices, they would have to forget everything they had seen, albeit a feeling of absence would remain deep in their hearts. If they preferred to remember the beauty, however, their minds would become so befuddled that they would not be able to distinguish the truth from the mirage. So the handful who stumbled on that secret location, unmarked on any map, returned either with a sense of longing for something, they knew not what, or with myriads of questions to ask. Those who yearned from completeness would be called ‘the lovers’, and those who aspired to knowledge ‘the learners’.

That is what Master Sinan used to tell the four of us, his apprentices.

Parallels
  • The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre