Excerpt from Minaret by Leila Aboulela, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


A Novel

by Leila Aboulela

  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Sep 2005, 288 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

It would have been childish to move from where I was sitting. But I felt uncomfortable sitting facing Anwar. He smiled at me and this took me aback. He kept looking at me. I felt that my blouse was too tight and my face too hot. I must have exhaled because he said, 'It's hot, isn't it? And you're used to air conditioners.' There was a teasing in his voice.

I laughed. When I spoke, my voice sounded strange to my ears, as if it were not me. 'But I prefer the heat to the cold.'

'Why?' He threw the butt of his cigarette on the ground and, with his feet, covered it with sand. His movements were gentle.

'It's more natural, isn't it?' There were two tables between us and I wondered which one of us would make the first move, which one of us would get up and move over to the other table.

'It depends,' he said. 'Someone in Russia might regard the cold as natural.'

'We're not Russians.'

He laughed in a nice way and fell silent. His silence disappointed me and I thought of different ways to revive the conversation again. I scrambled different sentences in my head, fast, 'I heard you have a brother studying in Moscow', 'The air conditioner in my car broke down', 'You know, Dr Basheer wouldn't let me in'. I discarded them all as foolish and unbecoming. The silence grew until I could hear my heart above the sound of the birds. I got up and left the cafeteria without a glance towards him or a goodbye. It was nearly ten o'clock and time for Macroeconomics. The lecturer passed the attendance sheet. I wrote my name, then changed pens, made my handwriting more upright and wrote Omar's name.

I walked out of the Macro lecture room to find him waiting for me.

'Give me the car keys.'

'Here. Don't forget we have History at twelve. Show your face, please.'

He frowned and hurried off. I worried about him. It was there, nagging at me. When I was young my mother said, 'Look after Omar, you're the girl, you're the quiet, sensible one. Look after Omar.' And year in, year out, I covered for Omar. I sensed his weakness and looked out for Omar.

From Minaret by Leila Aboulela.  Copyright Leila Aboulela 2004.  All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Black Cat, an imprint of Grove Press.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hag-Seed
    by Margaret Atwood
    There's a scene in The Tempest that many critics have concluded is indicative of Shakespeare&#...
  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.