Bird Summons: Book summary and reviews of Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela

Bird Summons

by Leila Aboulela

Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela X
Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2020
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Brilliantly imagined, intense and haunting, Bird Summons confirms Leila Aboulela's reputation as one of our finest contemporary writers.

Salma, happily married, tries every day to fit into life in Britain. When her first love contacts her, she is tempted to risk it all and return to Egypt.

Moni gave up a career in banking to care for her disabled son, but now her husband wants to move to Saudi Arabia - where she fears her son's condition will worsen.

Iman feels burdened by her beauty. In her twenties and already in her third marriage, she is treated like a pet and longs for freedom.

On a road trip to the Scottish Highlands, the women are visited by the Hoopoe, a sacred bird whose fables from Muslim and Celtic literature compel them to question the balance between faith and femininity, love, loyalty and sacrifice.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[E]ngagingly executed...Each well-developed plot line deepens characterization, while Aboulela's interweaving of Muslim and Celtic fables via the sacred hoopoe bird, adds another dimension to the story and offers a sense of connection between the two traditions and the past and the present." - Booklist (starred review)

"[I]mpressive... Aboulela's novel is empathetic and insightful, offering a nuanced representation of the three characters through a blend of Islamic faith and Scottish folklore." - Publishers Weekly

"Aboulela's exploration of the women's problems of choice, faith, and commitment are as immersive as ever, but her dreamscapes, while imaginative and disconcerting, seem to sit oddly, at one didactic remove from the story. Split between two different narrative modes, Aboulela's latest is both engaging and perplexing." - Kirkus Reviews

"Tender, but unsentimental...rooted in everyday experience without forsaking the spiritual, told in effortlessly enjoyable style." - Daily Mail (UK)

"She's so good with women's interiority, and Muslim women's subjectivity...She gets beyond any cliché or type of the Muslim women." - BBC Radio (UK)

"A magic carpet ride into the forest of history and the lives of women. Playful, profound, and moving." - Lucy Ellman, author of Sweet Desserts and Mimi

"A Scottish-Arabic Canterbury Tales, a quest full of stories and surprises: a challenging storyteller's tour de force, uniting two radically different cultures with a handshake and a kiss." - Patricia Dunker, author of Hallucinating Foucault

This information about Bird Summons shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Leila Aboulela Author Biography

Leila Aboulela won the first Caine Prize for African Writing and is the author of many novels. Minaret was longlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize. The Translator was one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year. Lyrics Alley won the Scottish Trust Book Award for Fiction and was short listed for The Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book (South Asia and Europe), and longlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Her latest novel is The Kindness of Enemies (2016).

Born in Khartoum, Sudan, Aboulela now lives in Doha, Qatar.

Link to Leila Aboulela's Website

Name Pronunciation
Leila Aboulela: Aboul-Ela

Other books by Leila Aboulela at BookBrowse
  • The Kindness of Enemies jacket
  • Minaret jacket

6 more...

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