10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

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I was recommended this book from a pen pal and ordered it from the library.  I did remember it from being shortlisted for the Booker but I didn’t know much about it.

This is set mainly in Istanbul with flashes back to Tequila Leila’s early childhood throughout. It is tale or a kind of mystery told in reverse.  Beginning 10 minutes and 38 seconds after Tequila Leila’s heart has stopped beating and her brain is still working as her body is thrown in a dumpster.

Leila spends those 10 minutes reliving her life and taking the reader through the journey that led to her becoming a prostitute in Istanbul and being murdered.  Eventually uncovering the mystery of her murder.  Along the way, the reader learns of the strong bonds Leila has formed with her group of friends, mainly other outsiders or outcasts.  We see how her death impacts them and what occurs because of it.

This was extremely well written and moving story that leaves the reader with almost a sense of despair at the state of a world that can treat people in such a way.  There is definitely a sense of people being disposable and being treated as objects or tools.

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