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10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World
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Archive: Other Books > 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World, by Elif Shafak, 4 stars

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message 1: by NancyJ (last edited Jan 26, 2020 04:20PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Leila has just been murdered, and for 10 minutes and 38 seconds, her brain continues to process information. Her life flashes before her eyes (not necessarily in order), and we learn about her childhood, why she ran away, her 5 best friends, and her life in Istanbul, Turkey. In the last half of the book we learn how her 5 best friends react to her death. I really liked the mix of before, during and after death scenes.

I found this book fascinating. The unique structure of the book is likely why it made the booker award list. Leila's work as a prostitute and the manner of her death might make people perceive her as garbage, but it was heartwarming to know that she was truly loved. I enjoyed reading about her life. Her mother's story was very sad, and it will probably stay with me longer than anything else. The stories of her romance and best friends added a lot of color to the book. While I liked each of her friends in their individual stories, they were an unlikely group when put together.

I enjoyed the descriptions of Istanbul, though it's a place that I don't think I'll ever want to visit. (Even the author doesn't want to visit right now.) The author highlighted the Cemetery of the Unaccompanied as social commentary I think. It led to some screwball comedy scenes as her friends tried to remedy the situation. I liked that the author highlighted the celebration of the new bridge to help us visualize Istanbul as the connection between Europe and Asia. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to continue to broaden their horizons with books about other countries.


Susie | 4488 comments I'm glad that you enjoyed it more that I did. My feelings came close to hatred! I vowed to give up on the Booker if this won!


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments I can understand that too. I had some moments when I thought I would give it a 2 or 3 (especially when they were in the cemetery).

It took me a while to write this review, and that seemed to help me to appreciate the positive aspects of the book more. When I compared it to recent thrillers I read, I realized that I got more out of this book. It's more meaningful somehow.

This was the first year I read some Booker nominees, and I can't say I was wowed. I do appreciate creativity, but sometimes it just leads to craziness. I don't think I'm going to be in such a hurry to read them next year.


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8523 comments I really loved the Three Daughters of Eve by the same author. But wasn’t drawn to this one.


Tracy (tstan) | 1195 comments Nancy, this past year wasn’t the best longlist. I’m hoping this year will be better, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m not overly confident about one of the judges.


Susie | 4488 comments I’m a bit scared too, but who am I kidding? I’ll be reading the list along with you Tracy.


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