Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon
A Novel

77%

13 Critic Reviews

...so thoroughly immerses the reader in the history, beauty and complexity of Istanbul that you can practically feel yourself moving through the tile-cooled mosques and twisted streets...
-LA Times

Synopsis

In the bestselling tradition of espionage novels by John LeCarre and Alan Furst, Istanbul Passage brilliantly illustrates why Edgar Award–winning author Joseph Kanon has been hailed as "the heir apparent to Graham Greene" (The Boston Globe).

Istanbul survived the Second World War as a magnet for refugees and spies. Even expatriate American Leon Bauer was drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs in support of the Allied war effort. Now as the espionage community begins to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of postwar life, Leon is given one last routine assignment. But when the job goes fatally wrong—an exchange of gunfire, a body left in the street, and a potential war criminal on his hands—Leon is trapped in a tangle of shifting loyalties and moral uncertainty.

Played out against the bazaars and mosques and faded mansions of this knowing, ancient Ottoman city, Istanbul Passage is the unforgettable story of a man swept up in the dawn of the Cold War, of an unexpected love affair, and of a city as deceptive as the calm surface waters of the Bosphorus that divides it.
 

About Joseph Kanon

See more books from this Author
Joseph Kanon is the author of five other novels, Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, The Good German, Alibi, and Stardust. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a book publishing executive. He lives in New York City.
 
Published May 29, 2012 by Atria Books. 417 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Istanbul Passage
All: 13 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Excellent
on Mar 19 2012

With dialogue that can go off like gunfire and a streak of nostalgia that feels timeless, this book takes its place among espionage novels as an instant classic.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jason Goodwin on Jun 01 2012

Some readers may find that Kanon’s thriller-ish style takes some getting used to, especially his telegrammatic dialogue reduced. To such. Staccato bursts that. It risks becoming. Unintelligible.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Mar 12 2012

Istanbul Passage is a first-rate espionage novel, filled with complexity and thrills, but its greatest success may be in this much more universal literary exploration: how an ordinary man is transformed by extraordinary circumstances.

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by Tom Nolan on May 29 2012

Its first order of business is delivering action and drama and the chilly consolations of the well-turned spy novel. Here Mr. Kanon succeeds handsomely.

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LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Paula Woods on Aug 05 2012

...so thoroughly immerses the reader in the history, beauty and complexity of Istanbul that you can practically feel yourself moving through the tile-cooled mosques and twisted streets...

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Thom Geier on May 25 2012

The plot in Istanbul Passage may be overly complicated and the ending feels a bit rushed...

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USA Today

Good
Reviewed by Jocelyn McClurg on Jun 17 2012

Even if Passage at times loses its way...give the novelist props for using this little-known real-life tragedy as a fascinating backdrop to his tale.

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Historical Novel Society

Good
Reviewed by pdr lindsay-salmon on Nov 01 2012

Kanon has a reputation for good writing and a clever plot. This novel enhances that.

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NJ.com

Good
Reviewed by Jim Farrington on Jun 03 2012

Critics are favorably comparing Kanon’s historical fiction to Graham Greene’s works and it is well-deserved of that praise. This is a great book for your summer reading list.

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Scotsman.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Allan Massie on Jun 16 2012

It is testimony to his own achievements that it is reasonable to compare Kanon to Ambler and Le Carré. There may be a better American writer of the spy novel than Kanon, but if there is, I haven’t come upon him.

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Blogger News Network

Good
Reviewed by Jefferson Flanders on Jul 28 2012

Kanon excels in his portraits of the people in the novel...

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DNA

Below average
Reviewed by Pramod K Nayar on Nov 25 2012

The real failings of Istanbul Passage are the tepid prose and the plodding plot. Read it if this is the only book you have not read in the airport bookshop.

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Mystery Tribune

Good
on Feb 21 2013

...the way Kanon writes resembles to the books by LeCarre so the fans of the his books will find Istanbul Passage an appealing read...Overall, an entertaining read.

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Reader Rating for Istanbul Passage
70%

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