By Leila Aboulela
An enchanting, deeply felt portrait of three women searching for freedom, from the three-times Orange Prize longlisted, Scottish Book Award and Caine Prize winner Leila Aboulela.
'BIRD SUMMONS is a magic carpet ride into the forest of history and the lives of women. Deep and wild' Lucy Ellmann, author of SWEET DESSERTS and MIMI
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.
Brilliantly imagined, intense and haunting, Bird Summons confirms Leila Aboulela's reputation as one of our finest contemporary writers.
Leila Aboulela was born in Cairo and grew up in Khartoum. She is the author of four novels: THE TRANSLATOR, MINARET and LYRICS ALLEY, all of which were longlisted for the Orange Prize, and THE KINDNESS OF ENEMIES. LYRICS ALLEY won Novel of the Year at the Scottish Book Awards and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, while Aboulela's collection of short fiction, COLOURED LIGHTS, won the Caine Prize. She lives in Aberdeen.
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- Publication date:
07 Mar 2019
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BIRD SUMMONS is a magic carpet ride into the forest of history and the lives of women. Deep and wild — Lucy Ellmann, author of the Guardian Fiction Prize winner SWEET DESSERTS, and MIMI
BIRD SUMMONS is 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 Duncker, author of HALLUCINATING FOUCAULT and SOPHIE AND THE SIBYL: A VICTORIAN ROMANCE
BIRD SUMMONS is the story of three Arab women on a quest in the Scottish Highlands and how their experience challenges and reveals them layer by layer. It is engaging and funny and rich in narrative suspense
— Abdulrazak Gurnah, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of PARADISE and GRAVEL HEART
A wonderful book. I loved the beauty of its language and the subtle interweaving of myth with the spiritual and physical journeys of the women. I found it fascinating, powerful and profound — Anne Donovan, author of BUDDHA DA
BIRD SUMMONS is a heady blend of social realism, magic, Middle Eastern folktale and Celtic myth. Above all it is the story of three women on a journey not only to the Highlands but also into themselves, as they confront their hopes, fears and deepest secrets. Leila Aboulela's is a unique and refreshing voice in contemporary Scottish fiction — James Robertson, author of THE TESTAMENT OF GIDEON MACK and TO BE CONTINUED
Leila Aboulela is a constant inspiration to me. Her acute observations, magical realism and fine, flowing prose about women and worlds I know well but had never seen drawn in all their vivid complexity on the page before, are what make me return to her work again and again. — Sabrina Mahfouz, editor of The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write
An intensely felt novel about an extraordinary journey that peels open one unexpected world after another — Romesh Gunesekera, author of Booker Prize-shortlisted REEF