10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World
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10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World

4.06 (287 ratings by Goodreads)
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LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019

'One of the best writers in the world today' Hanif Kureishi

'Haunting, moving, beautifully written - and based by an extraordinary cast of characters who capture the diversity of modern Turkey. A masterpiece' Peter Frankopan

'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 Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life - friends who are now desperately trying to find her. . .

'Simply magnificent, a truly captivating work of immense power and beauty, on the essence of life and its end.' Philippe Sands

'One of the most important writers at work today' Independent

'A vivid carnival of life and death, cruelty and kindness, love, politics and deep humanity. This is only possible in the hands of a consummate storyteller. Elif Shafak's lyrical command of language and narrative is breathtaking. Brilliant!' Helena Kennedy

'Elif Shafak brings into the written realm what so many others want to leave outside. Spend more than ten minutes and 38 seconds in this world of the estranged. Shafak makes a new home for us in words' Colum McCann

'Elif Shafak's extraordinary 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World is a work of brutal beauty and consummate tenderness' Simon Schama

'A rich, sensual novel... This is a novel that gives voice to the invisible, the untouchable, the abused and the damaged, weaving their painful songs into a thing of beauty.' Financial Times

'Incredibly sensuous and poetic and evocative' Pandora Sykes, The High Low
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 138 x 204 x 27mm | 363g
  • VIKING
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241293863
  • 9780241293867
  • 238

Review quote

Incredibly sensuous and poetic and evocative -- Pandora Sykes * The High Low * Shafak is the most exciting Turkish novelist to reach western readers in years * Irish Times * Sensual * Observer * Extraordinary * Guardian * Life-affirming * Stylist * A haunting masterpiece * Irish Mail on Sunday * Lush, evocative and compassionate * Mail on Sunday * Leila's complex inner life is laid bare in this touching novel, which is vaguely reminiscent of The Lovely Bones. Expect vibrant, vivid and eye-opening descriptions of Middle Eastern life propelled by a tender storyline, all in Shafak's haunting, beautiful and considered prose * Vanity Fair * Elif Shafak brings into the written realm what so many others want to leave outside. Spend more than ten minutes and 38 seconds in this world of the estranged. Shafak makes a new home for us in words -- Colum McCann A rich, sensual novel... This is a novel that gives voice to the invisible, the untouchable, the abused and the damaged, weaving their painful songs into a thing of beauty. -- Francesca Segal * Financial Times * A heartbreaking meditation on the ways in which social forces can destroy a life. Elif Shafak can be unsparing, lyrical, political, intimate... Several novels live in this one, and all of them are moving, generous and elegantly written -- Juan Gabriel Vasquez Elif Shafak's extraordinary Ten Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World is a work of brutal beauty and consummate tenderness, a wild shout of life from out of the lower depths of destitution and prostitution, indeed from beyond the grave itself. Every page throbs with unruly vitality, the sense- saturating colours scents and sounds of raw Istanbul, all registered with poetic sharpness. It's a book which for all its ordeals is a profoundly moving, at times lyrical, celebration of humanity's obstinate fight for life against the steepest of odds -- Simon Schama A vivid carnival of life and death, cruelty and kindness, love, politics and deep humanity. This is only possible in the hands of a consummate storyteller. Elif Shafak's lyrical command of language and narrative is breathtaking. Brilliant! -- Helena Kennedy Deeply moving * Sunday Times * Simply magnificent, a truly captivating work of immense power and beauty, on the essence of life and its end. -- Philippe Sands One of the best writers in the world today -- Hanif Kureishi Haunting, moving, beautifully written - and based by an extraordinary cast of characters who capture the diversity of modern Turkey. A masterpiece. -- Peter Frankopan
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About Elif Shafak

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 College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. She is a member of World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). An advocate for women's rights, LGBT rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice a TED global speaker, each time receiving a standing ovation. Shafak contributes to many major publications around the world and she has been awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people who would make the world better. She has judged numerous literary prizes and is chairing the Wellcome Prize 2019. Find out more about Elif Shafak on her website: www.elifshafak.com
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Rating details

287 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 40% (114)
4 39% (111)
3 14% (41)
2 3% (10)
1 4% (11)
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