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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published Feb 2020
    320 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

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 was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. 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 they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream 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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

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...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more literary fiction...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.25 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: We Had to Remove This Post
    We Had to Remove This Post
    by Hanna Bervoets
    It's not about money. Kayleigh, the protagonist and narrator of We Had to Remove This Post, a newly ...
  • Book Jacket: River of the Gods
    River of the Gods
    by Candice Millard
    The Nile River has provided vital resources for millennia, serving as a source of water, food and ...
  • Book Jacket: Horse
    Horse
    by Geraldine Brooks
    Geraldine Brooks creates a powerful backstory for 19th-century thoroughbred racehorse Lexington, ...
  • Book Jacket: Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance
    Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance
    by Alison Espach
    Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance will make you ache for a loss you didn't experience as you relate...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Hamnet
by Maggie O'Farrell
"Of all the stories...about Shakespeare’s life, [Hamnet] is so gorgeously written that it transports you."
The Boston Globe

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Jackie & Me
    by Louis Bayard

    Master storyteller Louis Bayard delivers a surprising portrait of a young Jackie Kennedy as we've never seen her before.

  • Book Jacket

    Fruiting Bodies
    by Kathryn Harlan

    A genre-bending debut collection of stories full of desire, wisdom, and magic blooming amidst decay.

Win This Book!
Win Where the Crawdads Sing

Win a signed copy of Where the Crawdads Sing

In celebration of the movie release on July 15, we have three signed copies to give away.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T O Thing W H T F I F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.