Story of a prostitute. Wait a minute......This is not in a sense the word prostitute is often intrepreted as. The novel is about an innocent prostitute. She becomes a prostitute not because of helplessness but, because of her choice.
Being a prostitute was her profession and she loved it.
Following are author's words about the novel.
In 1997, after a lecture I gave in Mantua, Italy, I went back to my hotel and found that
someone had left a manuscript for me in reception. Now, I never normally read
unsolicited manuscripts, but I did read that one - the true story of a Brazilian prostitute,
her marriages, her problems with the law, and her various adventures. In 2000, when I
was passing through Zurich, I met that prostitute - known professionally as Sonia - and
said how much I had liked what I had read. I suggested she send it to my Brazilian
publisher, who, however, decided, in the end, not to publish it. Sonia was living in Italy at
the time, but had travelled up on the train to meet me in Zurich. She invited us - myself, a
friend and a female journalist from the newspaper Blick, who had just interviewed me -
to go to Langstrasse, the local red light district. I didn't know that Sonia had already
forewarned her colleagues of our visit, and to my surprise, I ended up signing several of
my books, translated into various languages.
At that point, I had already decided to write about sex, but I still didn't have a plot or a
principal character; I was thinking of something much more along the lines of the
conventional search for sacredness, but that visit to Langstrasse taught me something: in
order to write about the sacred nature of sex, it was necessary to understand why it had
been so profaned.
In conversation with a journalist from the Swiss magazine, L'lllustree, I described that
spontaneous booksigning in Langstrasse, and he wrote a long article about it. The result
was that, at a book-signing in Geneva, several prostitutes turned up to have their copies of my books duly signed. I was very struck by one of them in particular, and afterwards - with my agent and friend, Monica Antunes we went for a coffee that turned into supper that turned into other meetings in the days that followed. Thus was born the connecting thread of Eleven Minutes.
I would like to thank Anna von Planta, my Swiss publisher, who supplied me with
important facts about the legal situation of prostitutes in her country. I would also like to
thank the following women in Zurich (using their noms de guerre): Sonia, whom I met
for the first time in Mantua (who knows, maybe one day, someone will publish your
book!), Martha, Antenora and Isabella. And in Geneva (again using their noms de
guerre)-. Amy, Lucia, Andrei, Vanessa, Patrick, Therese and Anna Christina.
Many thanks also to Antonella Zara, who allowed me to use passages from her book, The
Science of Passion, in certain sections of Maria's diary.
Finally, I must thank Maria (nom de guerre), who now lives in Lausanne with her
husband and her two lovely daughters and who, during various meetings with myself and
Monica, told us her story, on which this book is based.