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  • Writer's pictureMonika Satote

Elif Shafak's power packed nonfiction : How to stay sane in an age of division

We are stuck in chaos. Everyone has something to say but there are not enough people to listen. The cries of grief, annoyance, irritation, anxiety, and even the celebratory ones are lost in the disturbance. We are lost, with no sense of clarity, no certainty, with no idea of where this world is heading. Elif Shafak talks of this uncertainty in this book, political, economic, social and of all other sorts. Published in 2020, and talking of crisis, this book surely addresses the ongoing global crisis of coronavirus but Shafak asks a question to the readers, a very intentional one indeed, “is this the only crisis we are going through?” Tell me, really! Is this the only one?

The past year and even this year brought so much turbulence in our lives that we have lost count of the bad things going on in this world. It is very difficult to staysane when nobody is sure about what’s going on? Even if they know, they don’t know where to express it or make people aware of it. The amount of misinformation and hatred is being spread is way too much. While talking about all this, the author touched so many important topics like the lives of immigrants, their belonging and identities, how digitalization and social media is impacting us in a good and a bad way, democracy ( Oh I loved the way she talked about this particular topic), the generational anxiety, apathy, the rising anger, etc. She swiftly moved from a topic to another and I am not exaggerating, but I have almost highlighted the entire book. She just hit the nails right and leaves you thinking. The selection of metaphors, information, and topics makes this extremely short book very powerful.

As the author ends this books, she talks about how the world would be lonelier a place without books, stories, empathy. She says, “Stories bring us together, untold stories keep us apart.” In the context of today’s times, and even for all the topics this book covers, this specific concept of how wonderfully stories keep us connected is important and interesting.

I highly recommend this pocket-sized book for some food for thought. It’s an essential one to read in such uncertain times, to make you aware and think of many things.

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