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Unerhörte Stimmen

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  4,179 ratings  ·  761 reviews
In Istanbul wird eine Prostituierte ermordet. Als sie noch lebte, war Leila trotz einiger Rückschläge stets eine beschwingte Person, die ihren Freunden auch in schweren Zeiten immer zur Seite stand. Und ausgerechnet sie wird begraben auf dem Friedhof der Geächteten, einer schändlichen Stätte für die Einsamen und Unerwünschten der Stadt: Kriminelle, Selbstmordattentäter, ab ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 13th 2019 by Kein & Aber
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,179 ratings  ·  761 reviews

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Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
I finished this book a few days ago....( haven’t read any reviews yet)....and it’s unusual for me to wait 3 days before writing a review.
Have you ever felt you have so much to say - you don’t know whet to begin?
Ha...perhaps there’s a club for people like us?
It’s a fantastic discussion book!!!
Well, I’m on vacation - aware of holiday-distractions - but this is a book I’d personally love to engage with others to discuss.

Perhaps if I bang my head against the wall - the right words at the r
Chaima ✨ شيماء
Me: I need to finish my assignments before I pick up a book.

Brain: okay but consider this—don’t.

Me: you propose a compelling argument.
Nat K
"To the women of Istanbul, and the city of Istanbul, which is, and has always been, a she-city"

I love that this is Elif Shafak's dedication for her book. It is oh-so-apt.

Many, many reviewers have spoken of the significance of the book's title both in depth & eloquently. So I'll not re-visit its' significance.

What I will say is reading this was extremely emotive. A squeeze to the heart.

This is Leila's story. And one that you should read. She recounts memori
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World is all that remains in the life of Tequila Leila, a sex worker who has been murdered, her body unceremoniously dumped in a wheelie bin in Istanbul.

As her brain shuts down, Leila recalls her life in its entirety. These recollections – covering one woman’s life from birth to death, the family who disowned her and the friends who came to be her greatest support, against a backdrop of key moments in Turkish history – form Part One: The Mind.

In Part Two: The Body, tho
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pleased to see this made the Booker Prize 2019 longlist!

Elif Shafak is a bestselling novelist known for her stories of strong female characters, immigrants and minorities. She follows this trend in her latest novel '10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World' depicting a story of Leila. Leila, known as Tequila Leila, is a prostitute in Istanbul who is killed at the start of the book and her body ends up in a rubbish dump. After being physically dead, Leila's brain remains active
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

A girl is dead. Or dying. Or dead. Or on the threshold of … A sneak peak into an entirely strange world.

We get a view on how things get results entirely different from the ones envisioned. So very many topics addressed: families, relations, identity, perception, religion and how it sometimes develops into something else, scary and foreign. This all is delivered in a package I couldn't resist. Incredible.

Her name was Leila.
Tequila Leila … (c) ...more
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: turkey, uk, 2019-booker
Now Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2019
This riveting tale has two protagonists: The women of Turkey and the city of Istanbul. Right at the beginning, we meet Leila, a prostitute who was attacked and then left to die in a metal rubbish bin on the outskirts of the city. The title-giving 10 minutes and 38 seconds are the time span in which her brain slowly shuts down, one last time re-collecting her life in numerous flashbacks - these vignettes make up the first half of the novel (and in the context
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LONGLISTED (and hopefully shortlisted) FOR THE 2019 BOOKER PRIZE.

Leila knows she is dead. Not from the fact that her body is lying in a waste bin, but from the facts that her heart is no longer beating, and her breathing has stopped. Her brain however is still, “brimming with life”.

In life Leila had been a prostitute. Tequila Leila was the name she had given herself. She was well known to the authorities and knew that they would have no trouble identifying her body once t
Even before I read this novel, I was surprised to see it on the Man Booker longlist based solely on my experience reading Shafak's - The Three Daughters of Eve, which I enjoyed, but found imperfect.

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World has a good title and a somewhat original premise - as it's told, in the first part anyway, from the perspective of Leila, a prostitute, who's dead or dying, so she's got 10 minutes and 38 seconds before her brain has no activity. The author uses this device f/>10
Joanne Harris
An extraordinary novel: tender, sensual, compassionate, inclusive and steeped in atmosphere and detail, this is a love letter to Istanbul, to tolerance, to friendship. Read it now.
Gumble's Yard
Now shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize after having been re read following its longlisting - my final comment proving prescient - and with additional comments added.

The book takes its cue from research that shows (as a medical examiner in the book reflects during an autopsy) which “observed persistent brain activity in people who had died …. for as much as ten minutes and thirty-eight seconds.”

The subject of the autopsy is Leyla Akarsu, a mid-40s (albeit claiming to be ten years y
Nada EL Shabrawy
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, english
Not as good as Daughters of Eve. But the life of Laila Tequila is beautifully told, as usual.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2019

I will put this whole review in spoiler tags for now, so that those of you who will be discussing it face to face can avoid reading it before we meet.
Editing to remove spoiler tags after face to face discussion.

This was my first experience of reading Elif Shafak, a writer I have heard very mixed things about, but one I have seen give a fairly impressive Goldsmiths lecture last year. I was pleasantly surprised, and came quite close to awarding another book.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elif Shafak is a big old romantic with a heart of gold and a rose tipped pen. She writes from the heart but speaks for those, in Istanbul, Turkey and the wider world who's voices have been muffled, silenced and go unheard and undocumented every day. In this latest offering, I see the idiosyncrasies of her past novels, mysticism and spirituality smothering the reader in their message of love and eternal life. The central setting of this story in the seventies may seem dated, but what has changed ...more
Ron Charles
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World” is a deeply humane story about the cruel effects of Turkey’s intolerant sexual attitudes. Better yet, it’s shortlisted for the Booker Prize, which, one hopes, will bring even more pressure on the Turkish government to stop harassing this immensely talented artist.

The opening of “10 Minutes” is grim. It’s 1990, and our heroine, Leila, is a prostitute stuffed in a dumpster on the outskirts of Istanbul: “She now realized with a sinking feeli
Julie Ehlers
What I'm going to remember most about 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in This Strange World is its vivid sense of setting and character. I'm ordinarily not a fan of a lot of description, but in this case it really pulled me in, made me feel at home in Istanbul and among its people. That's not an easy thing for a writer to pull off, and it counted for a lot. The book also had an unusual structure that I initally appreciated, but eventually the structure got in the way of the story, the book began to drag, and ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Booker Prize Longlist 2019. Shafak’s powerful novel tackling sexual violence in Turkey resulted in the Turkish authorities launching an investigation into Shafak and her work. What was their bizarre reasoning? Apparently, if a writer pens a fictional account that includes sexual violence, the writer must be condoning that violence. Does that mean that these same officials are investigating/prosecuting actual cases of sexual violence? Of course not!

The year is 1990, Laila Akarsee’s he
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A giant note of gratitude to Collin and Nat K. for their phenomenal reviews of this book. How could anyone not want to read this after reading their thoughts?
Elif Shafak shares that researchers have observed brain activity in those who just died. Some last as long as 10 minutes and 38 seconds. What happens in this span of time? Tequila Leila connects her memories, as she lies dying in a dumpster, with scents. Her sense of smell, still present, floods her with memories of self and those of
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A sex worker in Istanbul has been murdered, and as her brain releases her life, the reader is transported to specific memories and stories. Her life is revealed alongside five close friends (like a Turkish cast of Rent) who play a bigger role in the second half of the story.

This is on the Man Booker Prize longlist for 2019, but I must say it isn't the best book I've read by this author. Still it is quite readable and is based on an interesting structure.

I had a review copy from the
Eric Anderson
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I very much enjoyed Elif Shafak’s previous novel “Three Daughters of Eve”, I was initially hesitant to read her new novel because the subject sounded so depressing. “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World” recounts the final thoughts of its central character Leila after she’s been murdered and left in a dumpster. Scientists speculate that the brain remains active for a number of minutes after a person’s heart stops so the first part of the novel captures her final memories and refl ...more
Renee Godding
5/5 stars

5 stars to this extraordinary novel, that completely swept me off my feet.
Having read some reviews by other people, I can see how it has its minor flaws, but to me personally , this book came quite close to perfection.
10 minutes and 38 seconds in this strange world is a beautifully crafted homage to a life forgotten by most, but remembered by a few close friends, that carried an important message and managed to touch me on an emotional level.

Full review to come
Paul Fulcher
In a direct rebuttal to the title of her fellow nominee Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last, the central concept of Elif Shafak’s Ten Minutes Thirty Eight Seconds In This Strange World is inspired by a medical paper to the contrary published in 2017. A team of Canadian doctors observed brain wave activity, similar to that seen in people in deep sleep, in one patient, whose life support had been turned off, for 10m38s after their clinical death. (For the other three patients studied, the brain waves acti ...more
Sonja Arlow
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read

”Istanbul was not a city of opportunity but a city of scars

Istanbul was an illusion. A magician’s trick gone wrong.

Istanbul was a dream that existed solely in the minds of hashish eaters”

The book gives a birds-eye view of the outcasts of Istanbul’s society but it almost felt as if the author was using a checklist. We have a disgraced prostitute, a revolutionary, a dwarf, a transvestite, a singer, an illegal immigrant…... They felt as if they were there to represent a sp
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker-19
This is my first novel by Elif Shafak and I doubt it will be my last. For the most part this was an immensely enjoyable read, marred only by a wobbly change in tone in the last third.

The story of Tequila Leila read to me like a dark fairy tale morphed with the Victorian era idea of the "fallen woman". (view spoiler) ...more
Joy D
Tequila Leila, a sex worker in Istanbul, has been brutally murdered. Her heart has stopped but her brain continues to function for 10 minutes 38 seconds. As she slips away, she tells her story through recounting memories of salient events of her life. We see her birth into a dysfunctional family, abuse at the hands of a relative, and formation of close bonds of friendship with five other social outcasts. We find out the reasons behind her flight from her small hometown of Van to Istanbul, and ho ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot to admire in this portrait of an Istanbul prostitute, her friends, her untimely murder, and the aftermath of her existence. However, I never really connected with the material, the characters, nor the story, or the way it was told. The first 2/3rds is basically a straightforward account of Tequila Leila's life, broken by the interpolation of brief vignettes of the lives of her five friends. It's given something of a novel twist in that it is supposedly remembrances flashing throug ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
If you enjoy character-driven stories, then you would probably love this. I’m not a fan of such writing, however, so this is not the book for me. There were some potentially fascinating characters in this book, but their treatment was very uneven. The narrative was choppy as backstory on various characters was interspersed with the main story in separate chapters. This book has an interesting construction, but overall the execution was bland.
Emer (A Little Haze)
This book has such moments of pure genius and honesty, and at times my heart felt so unbelievably full... However it also descended into somewhat of a farcical comedy during the course of Part Two so my feelings are very mixed.

The premise is utterly fascinating and is based on observations from a research paper published in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences (This book has such moments of pure genius and honesty, and at times my heart felt so unbelievably full... However it also descended into somewhat of a farcical comedy during the course of Part Two so my feelings are very mixed.

The premise is utterly fascinating and is based on observations from a research paper published in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences (
link here) that found an instance of brain wave activity in a person declared clinically dead for 10 minutes 38 seconds post-death.

The book takes this idea and uses these ten minutes and thirty eight seconds to explore the life of murder victim Tequila Leila in Part One, The Mind, as she experiences flashbacks of sort as her mind ultimately closes down after her untimely death.

Part One, The Mind, contained my favourite moments of the novel. We got to really get to know Leila. To understand her life's journey. To follow her childhood through to her escape to Istanbul where she ended up working in a brothel. This section explored the concept of blood family versus found family as we met each of Leila's five closest friends in turn and learned how much of an impact she had on their lives and vice versa. And also this section to me really discussed death in the most beautiful and natural of fashions. There was nothing to fear. Nothing was over played. I found it incredibly moving. I also loved how real historical events were incorporated into the storyline. How the book gave a real insight into what life was like in Istanbul especially during the 1960s and '70s.

This whole section was just beautifully written and I was incredibly invested in the storyline.

But once the book moved onto Part Two, The Body, the narrative shifted to a much more frivolous style of writing. The book turned to the absurd and the poignancy of Leila's death and life were lost to an almost slapstick comedy of errors as her five friends got caught up in a preposterous nighttime adventure as they endeavoured to bury her body.

This whole section just jarred so much with me that it nearly ruined the novel. It's why I'm rating this book three stars and not four. Because where I was once moved by Leila and her story, I now found myself rolling my eyes at her five friends. And I think that along with the farcical burial plot line this was also largely in part due to the poor characterisations of Leila's five besties. Instead of feeling truly authentic they all felt like caricatures or almost stereotype composites of the types of characters that would be #SquadGoals for a woman of little social standing.

What I am pleased about is that the story never attempted to solve Leila's murder, there was no talk of justice etc. Instead the focus was primarily on the tragedy of Leila's life and really highlighted social injustices that were prevalent during the setting of this book.

The book thankfully ended with a short Part Three that took the focus away from Leila's friends and instead centred on Leila and her soul but unfortunately even this touching ending couldn't salvage the book for me and ultimately it's an ambivalent three star rating that I am giving. A book that promised so much but sadly I feel somewhat shortchanged upon finishing it.

For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog
Barry Pierce
sometimes when i flick through the television channels of a sunday i accidentally happen upon a load of heterosexual men in nylon suits talking about sport. one thing they always seem to say is: it was a game of two halves. it's a nice phrase. so nice i'm going to steal it. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World is a novel of two halves.

the first half of the novel, Leila in her bin, recounting her life, is not great. I felt like I had read that specific narrative so many times before
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Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into fifty languages. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's Colleg ...more
“Perhaps nothing was worth worrying about in a city where everything was constantly shifting and dissolving, and the only thing they could ever rely on was this moment in time, which was already half gone.” 4 likes
“Her mother had once told her that childhood was a big, blue wave that lifted you up, carried you forth and, just when you thought it would last forever, vanished from sight. You could neither run after it nor bring it back. But the wave, before it disappeared, left a gift behind – a conch shell on the shore. Inside the seashell were stored all the sounds of childhood.” 3 likes
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