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10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak, author of 17 books and the most widely read female author in Turkey, returns with the story of Tequila Leila, a sex worker in Istanbul who is murdered and recounts her life’s story in the remaining 10 minutes and 38 seconds before her brain stops functioning.

From the publisher: “An intensely powerful new novel from the best-selling author of The Bastard of Istanbul and Honour.”

From Booker Judge Liz Calder: “Elif Shafak’s audacious, dazzlingly original storytelling brings Istanbul’s underworld to life via the vivid recollections of sex worker Tequila Leila, recently dumped for dead in a rubbish bin. For another ten minutes and 38 seconds, her brain continues to function and, minute by minute, memories of her previous life are spooling back, prompted by tastes and smells of her childhood, before she was thrown out of her family home and washed up in Istanbul’s mean streets.

A work of fearless imagination, the story takes the reader into the vertiginous world of its irresistible heroine, whose bloody-minded determination and fierce optimism make her an unforgettable character whose death, albeit foretold, still comes as a shattering blow. Courageous and utterly captivating, this telling novel is a testament to the power of friendship and of the human spirit.”

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