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Booker Prize 2019 Shortlist: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds by Elif Shafak

10 minutes

Written in her second language could this be the book to steal the Booker?

Book Worm’s Thoughts: This is my favourite book on the shortlist. I love it, it is magical, it has a great feel good storyline despite being about a murdered prostitute.

Why this could win: Because it’s great. It deals with the treatment of women and how it is possible to get caught in a situation where prostitution is the only option.

Why it might not win: I know a lot of people don’t like the end section of the book and I can see where they are coming from even if I disagree with them.

Anita’s Thoughts:  Not sure how this garnered a shortlist spot.

Why this could win: The only thing that could propel this book to a win is the flashback structure in the first half combined with the evocative descriptions of Istanbul, but it seems like a long shot to me.

Why it might not win:  The character development is too shallow and half the book seems a bit trite and lightweight.  More like a comedic caper than literary fiction.

Nicole’s Thoughts:   Disappointed to see this on the list; no idea how it got to the longlist let alone short list.  I’m baffled.

Why this could win:  Beats me (it won’t)

Why it might not win:  Because it’s basically the Five People You Meet in Heaven without the Heaven part

Tracy’s Thoughts:  This was a polarizing book, too. I fell on the side of loving it. Again, Shafak is an experienced author who knows how to tell a story. This was a good premise, and a cultural learning experience for this white girl from the midwestern US.  Again, though, I don’t think this is a Booker winner.

Why this could win:  Timely, political, and cultural differences from the usual Booker audience.

Susie’s Thoughts: The more time that passes, the less I like this book.

Why this could win: The book I like the least is usually the winner!

Why it might not win: It isn’t literary fiction and is outclassed by the other books on the list.

Lisa’s Thoughts:  I thought I’d really like this, and I did find pieces of the main character’s backstory engaging and memorable, but the last part of the book — the friends’ mission — seemed unnecessary.

Why this could win:  Backstory to how a middle-class girl ends up as a prostitute — and murdered — in Turkey

Why it might not win: It just doesn’t rise to the level of great.



One Comment Post a comment
  1. I enjoyed reading this debate about 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in This Strange World! I think books like this make for the greatest discussions.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 10, 2019

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