Elif Shafak

Books Jonny Geller, +44 (0)20 7393 4357 Email Jonny Geller

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

book | Fiction | May 2019
UK → Viking (Ed. Venetia Butterfield)
US → Bloomsbury Publishing (Ed. Anton Mueller)

An intensely powerful new novel from the best-selling author of The Bastard of Istanbul and Honour.

'In the first minute following her death, Leila's consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore. Her brain cells, having run out of blood, were now completely deprived of oxygen. But they did not shut down. Not right away...'

For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life - friends who are now desperately trying to find her. . .

Spanish Cover
Hungarian Cover
Unerhorte Stimmen
I miei ultimi 10 minuti e 38 secondi

Shafak is the most exciting Turkish novelist to reach western readers in years.

The Irish Times

A vivid carnival of life and death, cruelty and kindness, love, politics and deep humanity.

Helena Kennedy, author of Eve Was Shamed

Simply magnificent, a truly captivating work of immense power and beauty, on the essence of life and its end.

Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

Haunting, moving, beautifully written - and based by an extraordinary cast of characters who capture the diversity of modern Turkey. A masterpiece.

Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak — lush, rich, lucid

This is a novel that gives voice to the invisible, the untouchable, the abused and the damaged, weaving their painful songs into a thing of beauty.

Francesca Segal
Financial Times
Full Review

There is so much beauty in this book: the value of the “chosen family” to marginalised individuals; Istanbul itself, that “liquid city”; the grace of a Muslim father who would never strike his daughter, however much he feared her choices. And there’s wisdom too, courtesy of Leila’s fabulous trans friend Nalan: “No one should try to philosophise on the nature of humanity until they have worked in a public toilet for a couple of weeks.” Thanks to Shafak, the voices of women like Nalan and Leila will no longer be silenced.

Melissa Katsoulis
Sunday Times

a work of brutal beauty and consummate tenderness, a wild shout of life from out of the lower depths of destitution and prostitution, indeed from beyond the grave itself.

Simon Schama
Full Review

One of the best writers in the world today

Hanif Kureishi

Shafak brings into the written realm what so many others want to leave outside. Spend more than ten minutes and 38 seconds in this world of the estranged. 

Colum McCann

Shafak's writing is lush, evocative and compassionate.

Mail on Sunday

Imaginative and admirably tight, a novel that paints a memorable and nuanced picture of life on the fringes of Turkish society. 

Sunday Times

Critics have hailed the book as a haunting masterpiece.

Irish Mail on Sunday

Thanks to Shafak, the voices of women ... will no longer be silenced.

The Times

The mad, exhilarating final section ... is a testament to Shafak's brilliance as a storyteller. 


Jonny Geller
+44 (0)20 7393 4357
Email Jonny Geller
Translation Rights
Daisy Meyrick
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Daisy Meyrick
Translation Rights
Roxane Edouard
+44 (0)20 7393 4491
Email Roxane Edouard