Evocative, thought-provoking and packed with a cast of personalities, for me this is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. On the surface this is the story of a woman who lives a life riddled with injustices, but deep down it is a story of friendship and the family we choose for ourselves.
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World is the story of a girl called Leila, revisiting the key moments in her life as she lays dying, from her birth right up until the present. We learn Leila’s story against a backdrop of major events in Turkish history. We meet Leila’s dysfunctional family, her aunt and mother constantly at odds, and her father who increasingly finds refuge in religion. We learn how Leila came to be in the position she is in – murdered, lying dead in the street – but this is no a story of revenge or mystery to be unraveled, Shafak simply allows it to be a tragedy.
In the second part of the book we meet Leila’s friends as they desperately try to retrieve Leila’s body for burial. A group of misfits due to their coloring, gender, physical disabilities and ethnicity, Shafak has created a group of friends brought together by their differences.
On the surface this book may sound dark and depressing, but really it is a book that allows tragedy to be tragedy and the truth to be laid out bare. At times it is saddening but Shafak balances this with uplifting moments and small victories. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to read more of her work. On to The Three Daughter’s of Eve!
You can buy a copy of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World from your local independent bookshop through Hive here!
This wonderful novel spans generations and combines the power of 12 startling voices to share the experiences of British women of color. Mainly set in London we hear the story of a proud black lesbian playwright, her sassy super-feminist daughter and a sexually fluid millennial, just to name a couple.
It’s Black History Month in the UK and I decided this year I should finally get round to reading some of those incredible stories that I haven’t quite made time for yet.
I can definitely see why this books is a bit love it or hate it. The story of Dexter and Em is given to us in snapshots, Starting from their meeting at uni up to their late 30s, the book oozes sexual tension, but with an increasingly dark edge which reminded me of Sally Rooney’s novels.