10 Minutes And 38 Seconds in This Strange World – Elif Shafak

The story here is based on the scientific premise that once the heart stops beating the brain actually stays alive for anything up to the longest time recorded so far which is ten minutes and thirty eight seconds! The book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2019 and, sadly, I have seen some quite bad reviews about it. Some people seem to have enjoyed the first part and not the second but, I thoroughly enjoyed it all! It really isn’t as gruesome as the title may lead you to believe as it focuses on a murder victim’s last thoughts after she has been dumped in a rubbish bin in Istanbul. The victim is a prostitute known as Tequila Leila and, in her last thoughts, she tells the story of her childhood and how she ended up in the Street of Brothels. We also hear of the five best friends she meets along the way who come from a variety of genders and suffer some disabilities. In Istanbul there is a cemetery known as the Cemetery of the Companionless where anyone without a family to claim them is buried with no headstone just a number on a wooden post to mark their passing from the world. As Leila, whose birth name was Leyla, has no family that wish to admit even knowing her, this is where her body has been taken. The second part of the book relates the tale of how her friends, with the help of a well meaning mortuary assistant, find where she is in the cemetery and set about removing Leila to a better place. Some of their escapade is amusing and other parts heart wrenching all of which makes for a great read.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.