September 2020

 

10 Minutes 38 seconds by Elif Shafak10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world has its roots in the Cemetery of the Companionless in Istanbul. It is the place where those people who are shunned by society or outcasts are buried as numbers without names. Elif Shafak wanted to reverse the process by giving them a life. The life she gave was to Tequila Leila, a victim of childhood sexual abuse, who was being forced into an arranged marriage fled to Istanbul where she becomes a sex worker. Leila is murdered and then dumped in a bin. The key idea of the novel comes into play here. The idea that when our heart stops our brain, our consciousness, can continue for up to 10 minutes and 38 seconds.
The story begins with Leila’s death. And then for two thirds of the book follows her as she remembers the key incidents in her life. The book begins with her birth and takes the reader through the raw and distressing sexual abuse by her uncle and the dismissive response to it by her family. Then as she struggled through school and her father’s ever-growing religious orthodoxy placing more and more constraints on the women in the family. Leila escapes and goes to Istanbul hoping for a better life but finding herself with no options and seeking the closest thing to safety, she becomes a sex worker.
Her memories introduce the reader to each of her five friends who come into her life at different times and each a social outcast in their own way. Then each friend tells their own story before moving on to the next minute of Leila’s slowly ebbing life. There is some joy for Leila when she falls in love and marries D/Ali but this turns to tragedy when he is killed in a protest and she has to return to sex work to survive.
The final third of the book follows Leila’s 5 friends, Sinan, Nalan, Jameelah, Zaynab and Humeyra as they try to come to terms with her death. It becomes evident that she is glue that binds this friendship together. They decide to dig her up and give her proper burial after her body is placed in the Cemetery of the Companionless. There is both humour and heartbreak in this part as each friend faces their own memories and battles their own demons regarding what they are doing.
The epilogue returns to Leila and the release of her spirit and its finding peace at last.

Ratings: Sandi, Janet, Linda, Di and Pauline 3.5; Margi 2.5 and Jenny 4.5.

Our next meeting will be at Preece House on 12/10/20 at 6:30PM to discuss Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Hope to see you all there and happy reading!

 

About Us

We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.

Preece HouseWe normally meet at the 1948 heritage Preece House, 50 Nerang St Bischof Pioneer Park, Nerang (next to 54 Nerang St. shops. This venue has no toilet but here’s one in the park) on the second Monday of every month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. excluding Public Holidays. A small contribution is required towards the rent of the room, but not if you are a first timer. The amount depends on the number of people attending.
One book title is chosen each month and we all read that book. There is a ‘host’ who introduces and co-ordinates the discussion. The role of host is rotated around the group so that each member has the opportunity to nominate their book (it could also be an author, theme or genre). The host also acts as chairperson for that meeting.
Although we are not a social club (we are readers), we occasionally attend literary events, relevant movies or plays here at the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Byron Bay. We conform to basic meeting practices and everyone has an equal opportunity to express their opinion. Everyone’s interpretation is valid, as long as it’s expressed respectfully.
We welcome any new members who share our aims and are happy to contribute to our group. Newcomers are not required to have read the book to attend the first meeting and no contribution is required from them.
Feel free to have a look at our Booklist for 2020 and Newsletters in the sidebar. If you are reading this blog in a mobile device, switch to desktop view.

CONTACT DETAILS

We meet from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on the 2nd Monday of every month at the heritage listed Preece House located at Bischof Park, Nerang Street (next corner White St), Nerang next door to shops at 54 Nerang Street. While the Covid19 restrictions are on, we will meet online. Please contact us for info on meetings that fall on Public Holidays.
For more information use the contact form.

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