Minaret by Leila Aboulela
A Novel

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Leila Aboulela's American debut is a provocative, timely, and engaging novel about a young Muslim woman -- once privileged and secular in her native land and now impoverished in London -- gradually embracing her orthodox faith. With her Muslim hijab and down-turned gaze, Najwa is invisible to most eyes, especially to the rich families whose houses she cleans in London. Twenty years ago, Najwa, then at university in Khartoum, would never have imagined that one day she would be a maid. An upper-class Westernized Sudanese, her dreams were to marry well and raise a family. But a coup forces the young woman and her family into political exile in London. Soon orphaned, she finds solace and companionship within the Muslim community. Then Najwa meets Tamer, the intense, lonely younger brother of her employer. They find a common bond in faith and slowly, silently, begin to fall in love. Written with directness and force, Minaret is a lyric and insightful novel about Islam and an alluring glimpse into a culture Westerners are only just beginning to understand.

About Leila Aboulela

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LEILA ABOULELA was born in Cairo and grew up in Khartoum. She is the author of two novels: The Translator, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Minaret-- both longlisted for the Orange Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her book of short stories, Coloured Lights, published in 2001, contained her story " The Museum," which made her the first winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. Leila Aboulela lives between Doha and Aberdeen. Visit her website at www.leila-aboulela.com.
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press, Black Cat. 292 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Following her lyrical first novel (The Translator, 1999), Aboulela narrates a sadder, starker story of one girl’s fall from privilege to a life of exile and menial work in London.

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The Guardian

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Minaret by Leila Aboulela 288pp, Bloomsbury, £12.99 During the past half dozen years, a new genre of contemporary English fiction seems to have emerged in the form of a series of novels by Muslim writers that explore the fault lines between various Islamic cultures and the way of life flourishing...

Jun 11 2005 | Read Full Review of Minaret: A Novel

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