10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak***

22 February 2020 | ,

Reading Dates: 26 January–22 February 2020

This book saw me through the hardest weeks of my life as I mourn Rosina’s death. It is a book about death, or the death of a woman and while interestingly structured I missed the insights of Elena Ferrante’s writing. The three parts of the book, roughly focusing on mind, body and soul did not gel together and although the resolution had some beauty to it, it felt rushed to me. Maybe grief is making me assess pace, I want to be with myself at the moment, hole up and find Rosina inside me and there was something about this book that I felt was inconsiderate. Perhaps I am a bit jumpy and a bit sad. Everything is too much.

There is some decent beauty in the book though, some lovely passages, especially about grief, which she compares to migrating birds.

“Grief is a swallow,’ he said. ‘One day you wake up and you think it’s gone, but it’s only migrated to some other place, warming its feathers. Sooner or later, it will return and perch in your heart again.”

That, to me, felt real, more real that the usual descriptions of it as a wave. My grief does not drown me but it certainly perches and keeps me company. When it is not there, I miss it.


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