Dear Great Book Guru, This past weekend I met up with lots of friends and we all agreed we needed something great to read - something thought-provoking and with a strong story line. Any thoughts? Readers in Search of Meaning
Dear Readers in Search of Meaning, I spent this last weekend with a compelling book, filled with moments of deep insight. This shortlisted 2019 Booker Prize winner is 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak. It is the haunting tale of Leila - victim of a brutal murder in Istanbul, Turkey. Leila explains that for 10 minutes and 38 seconds after death, we are capable of conscious thought with heightened sensitivities and robust memories. The first half of the novel describes Leila’s thoughts as she moves from life to death and we count down the moments we share with her. She remembers her early life in exquisite sensory detail - her young mother who was forced to give her up at birth, her mercurial father, an abusive uncle, a beloved autistic brother, and her young activist husband. In alternating chapters, we meet each of her five friends who play important roles in her life and death. These friends like Leila live on the outskirts of Istanbul’s society where gender, violence, and religion combine to crush many. With her death complete, the second part of the book is more a caper but satisfying nevertheless. A painful tale but well worth reading - highly recommend!