10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world – Book review
Updated: Apr 23
10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world by Elif Shafak
Publishing date : May 2019
Genre : Literary fiction
Pages : 308 (hardback)
Rating on goodreads : 4.08
My rating : 5
My second book by Elif Shafak, and I’m so in love with her writing style. This book in a Masterpiece, no wonder it was nominated for the booker prize 2019. I personally consider it as a must read, want to know why? Keep reading then.
10 minutes 38 seconds is exactly the time that the human brain keeps functioning after death, and this book is all about what Tequila Leila remembers during that time. So basically, it’s the story of a prostitute in Istanbul, how she ended up there, what was her life like and how she died (I didn’t spoil anything, her death is the 1st thing the book mentions). Tequila Leila, tells the story of her life, and so the story of her 5 friends. All of those characters are flawed, ignored by the society, and even suffered hatred from their entourage. But still, they were heroes, just by fighting for survival, sticking together, and not allowing the hatred to reach into their own hearts. All of that is told as memories, flashbacks while she’s laying there dead. Which makes it more intriguing and interesting to fellow the story (or stories as a matter of fact).
The book is divided to 3 parts (the mind, the body, and the soul), the 1st part may look pretty usual and you might have read something like it before, I liked it still. But the fun starts with the 2nd part, with Leila’s life in the brothel. How she was treated, the different events that took place.. and the 3rd and last part, will just give you shivers.
What I really enjoyed about this book is the mention of the political events, and also the accurate description of the Turkish society back then. Since the timeline was real, and so for the place where the story took place. Only the characters were fictional, although inspired by some true stories. This isn’t a book with a start and an end, actually, it doesn’t matter when it started or when it would end. It’s a book about life, courage, acceptance, and most of all, friendship.
Here are few passages that I chose for you:
- Just because you think it’s safe here, it doesn’t mean this is the right place for you, her heart countered. Sometimes where you feel most safe is where you least belong.
- “Ignorant, simple-minded peasants! They breed like rabbits! How can this country ever modernize if the uneducated continue to outnumber the educated?”
- The world is no longer the same for the one who has fallen in love, the one who is at its very centre; it can only spin faster from now on.
- Respect the journey, go with the flow, do not compete and never try to dominate.