10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

Book - 2019
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'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 ...' Our brains stay active for ten minutes after our heart stops beating. For Tequila Leila, each minute brings with it a new memory - growing up with her father and his two wives in a grand old house in a quiet Turkish town; watching the women gossip and wax their legs while the men went to mosque; sneaking cigarettes and Western magazines on her way home from school; running away to Istanbul to escape an unwelcome marriage; falling in love with a student who seeks shelter from a riot in the brothel where she works. Most importantly, each memory reminds Leila of the five friends she met along the way - the friends who are now desperately trying to find her.
Publisher: New York :, Bloomsbury Publishing,, 2019.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781635574470
Branch Call Number: FIC SHAF
Characteristics: 311 pages : illustration, map ; 25 cm


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STPL_Kerry Sep 19, 2020

I have so much respect for this novel. It is such a beautifully written, poignant story of love, loss, secrets, friendship, family, religion and politics. Leila's life is so marked by sorrow and loss from the moment she enters this world, yet even through all the ugliness and intolerable situations she endures, she finds people to love (and who love her) and never loses her own strength of character or sense of compassion. This is not a light read, but well worth it.

Aug 11, 2020

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in the This Strange World is set in Istanbul and tells the life story of a woman, in flashbacks, after she is murdered.  The premise is that a human brain continues to 'think' for up to 10 minutes and 38 seconds after death.  And then the author also presents those persons in her life (that she was thinking of) after they are told of her death, and how they deal with her burial and such.  It's hard to describe, but a good read.

Jul 06, 2020

Popular fiction; easy read; for a general audience.

Apr 15, 2020

I don't think I would have gotten through this book if the world hadn't descended into the pandemic, and the library closed, and I had time to pick up the book after setting it aside. It was dark, covering sexual abuse and worse against an innocent young woman in Turkey. She escapes a sad life at home, and is immediately set up for sexual exploitation in Istanbul. There she meets many colorful and odd characters, and makes some lifetime friends. The conceit of the book, which is intriguing, is that the brain is actually active for many minutes after the body is dead (in this case 10 minutes 38 seconds), and so we venture back through the life of the main character as the cells in her brain die. It was a dark existence she had, and an awful death. Why do some of us live in such a reality, while others of us are able to live lives of ease? Luck, fate, what?

Mar 03, 2020

The first section of this book is excellent but, as others have noted, the tone and quality change in the second section. So 4 1/2 stars for the first half and 2 1/2 for the second.

Dec 16, 2019

A magical book which glows with hope in a world offering little for the disenfranchised, except their friendships whose caring support and love mean everything.
A voice from Turkey with clarity and creativity. The premise of the novel seems at first to be unreal but becomes believable and is developed with an artist's eye and voice.

Nov 22, 2019

I was surprised to see how easy it was to get through this book considering what it was about. In death we can discover sometimes love is everywhere and for everyone.

Nov 04, 2019

The first half of this novel consists of the memories of a woman triggered by scent and tastes. It is a harrowing portrait of patriarchy and growing fundamentalism in Turkey. Although the first half is excellent, the second half descends into farce and does not work. The woman's five friends are not fully developed as characters and serve as symbols of oppression (trans, refugee, asylum seeker...). An interesting effort but not entirely successful.

mko123 Oct 31, 2019

Leila Tequilla, streetwalker in Istanbul, has just been brutally murdered and her body is in a rubbish can in the alley. Though her body is dead, Leila's brain is still processing her life in these last 10 minutes and 38 seconds of awareness on earth. Pivital incidents in Leilas life surface--her difficult, perplexing childhood, an arranged marriage, and her relationships with a small group of quirky, kind, but socially ostracized friends. This perspective is beautifully executed as we, the reader, meander around the modern yet still ancient city of Istanbul. This book is a tribute to Istanbul and all the Turkish women whose lives have been ruined by a cruel system. A beautiful, tragic yet life-affirming book. Short-listed for the 2019 Booker Award.

Sep 19, 2019

booker 2019 longlist


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