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10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  3,115 ratings  ·  589 reviews
An intensely powerful new novel from the best-selling author of The Bastard of Istanbul and Honour

'In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila's consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore. Her brain cells, having run out of blood, were now completely deprived of oxygen. But they did not shut down. Not right away...'

For Le/>'In
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published June 6th 2019 by Viking
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,115 ratings  ·  589 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
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
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
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: 2019-booker, turkey, uk
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
“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
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
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
Britta Böhler
This was... not good...
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
Renee Godding
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Eric Anderson
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Paul Fulcher
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, booker-2019
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
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Sonja Arlow
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it
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
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
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.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I remember attending a lecture on taboos in literature and the lecturer said that there’s only one outright offensive thing an author can do in a book and that is have the dead narrating their life.

Judging by this lecture then 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in this Strange World must be number one on the literary taboo list.

Tequila Leila is dead in a rubbish bin. As the brain takes 10 minutes and 38 seconds to fully shut down, Leila remembers 12 memories that shaped her. Since
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Critically-acclaimed Turkish writer Elif Shafak writes about topics close to her heart — immigration and being in an ethnic minority group at a time when race relations are heating up again surrounding Brexit. Her characters are strong women who know their own mind and come from diverse, multicultural backgrounds. Set against the backdrop of bustling, humid Istanbul, the title refers to the length of time lady of the night Leila's brain continues to operate despite being dead and dumped like tra ...more
Jonathan Pool
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Evening FOLLOWING at Daunt Books, Marylebone. July 30, 2019
• The structural conceit (delayed shutdown of brain, was inspired by a Canadian study (early 2017)
• Leila’s death (The End is flagged at the very start), was a real story of a transgender death in Turkey. Dumped in a trash can. The final insult

Story of Turkey via outcasts
> Istanbul a city of amnesia.
> ES late to the city but remembers the earthquake. Tells a story of a bigoted shopk/>Story
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, 2019-booker
This is the first time I have read a novel by Elif Shafak. Before starting, I took a brief look on the Internet to see some basic facts about her and she is a very impressive person. It is also true that I took to her style of writing very quickly: I found it elegant and engaging.

The first and longest part of this, her ninth novel in English, tells the life story of a Turkish woman, Leila (aka Tequila Leila or Leyla), but from an unusual perspective. The woman has been murdered and h
Katie Long
Aug 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this enjoyable if a bit uneven. Shafak draws some unique, engaging characters, but unfortunately gives them stilted dialog and very little to do. Likewise, her description of Istanbul “a city where everything was constantly shifting and dissolving” is magnificent, but the story itself doesn’t have the depth to match the setting. It’s as though she had the set, but show left me wanting. #BookerPrize2019
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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.” 3 likes
“A hushed concentration permeated his movements, and his eyes watched her intently, oblivious to everything else, as though she was, and had always been, the centre of the world.” 1 likes
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