10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world
This book was a contender for the Booker Prize 2019, and IMO it should have won! The story is genius, it begins with the death (by murder) of Tequila Leila, a prostitute in Istanbul. Apparently, after our body dies our brain keeps working for about ten minutes, and that’s why Leila is able to recall her life and we get to know all about her. In the second part of the novel, after the mind has died, we learn (who are all outsiders in their own way) what happens to her body from others and who committed the murder. A brilliant novel, beautifully written and heart-wrenching, it also tackles some delicate issues such as the terrible Article 438 of the Penal Code, which allowed a reduced sentence for those who raped prostitutes and was abolished in 1992 thanks to the women’s movement, or the existence of the Cemetery of the Companionless, the final resting place of people who don't have a family or have been shunned by theirs. A masterpiece.
‘Nostalgia Nalan believed there were two kinds of families in this world: relatives formed the blood family; and friends, the water family. If your blood family happened to be nice and caring, you could count your lucky stars and make the most of it; and if not, there was still hope; things could take a turn for the better once you were old enough to leave your home sour home.
As for the water family, this was formed much later in life, and was, to a large extent, of your own making. While it was true that nothing could take the place of a loving, happy blood family, in the absence of one, a good water family could wash away the hurt and pain collected inside like black soot. It was therefore possible for your friends to have a treasured place in your heart, and occupy a bigger space than all your kin combined. But those who had never experienced what it felt like to be spurned by their own relatives would not understand this truth in a million years. They would never know that there were times when water ran thicker than blood.’