Elif Shafak is a bestselling novelist known for her stories of strong female characters, immigrants and minorities. She follows this trend in her latest novel ’10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World’ depicting a story of Leila. Leila, known as Tequila Leila, is a prostitute in Istanbul who is killed at the start of the book and her body ends up in a rubbish dump. After being physically dead, Leila’s brain remains active for another 10 minutes and 38 seconds, during which Leila’s memories surge forth bringing back significant moments of her life and more importantly, stories of her 5 close friends she met at key stages in her life. Leila’s first memory is dedicated to her own birth in 1947, when she was born to a family of one husband and two wives. After years of being childless, the father of the family decides to give Leila to his first wife, even though it’s the second wife who gave birth to Leila. Leila’s birthmother never truly recovers from the loss of her baby and reveals the truth to Leila some years later. While loved by her family, Leila’s upbringing is strict with little freedom. Desperate to escape the life and marriage that was arranged for her, Leila runs away to Istanbul to start a new life.
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