Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Lyrics Alley"

New from Grove/Atlantic: Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela

About the book, from the publisher:

Leila Aboulela, winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and one of contemporary literature’s leading Muslim voices now delivers the book that will bring her to the wider audiences of Monica Ali and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Aboulela’s new novel is the story of an affluent, influential Sudanese family shaken by the shifting powers in their country and the near tragedy that threatens the legacy they’ve built for decades.

In 1950’s Sudan, the powerful and sprawling Abuzeid dynasty has amassed a fortune through their trading firm. With Mahmoud Bey at its helm, they can do no wrong. But when Mahmoud’s son, Nur, the brilliant, handsome heir to the business empire, suffers a debilitating accident, the family is suddenly divided in the face of an uncertain future.

As Sudan’s diverging ethnic and religious populations collide and British rule nears its end, the country is torn between modernizing influences and the call of traditions past—a conflict reflected in the growing tensions between Mahmoud’s two wives: the younger, Nabilah, who longs to return to Egypt and escape the dust of “backward-looking” Sudan; and Waheeba, who lives traditionally behind veils and closed doors. It is not until Nur begins to assert himself outside the strict cultural limits of his parents that both his own spirit and the frayed bonds of his family can begin to mend.

In Lyrics Alley, Leila Aboulela takes readers to the heart of what it means to have faith in an unforgiving world. Moving from the alleys of Sudan to cosmopolitan Cairo and a decimated postcolonial Britain, this sweeping tale of desire and loss, faith, despair, and reconciliation is one of the most accomplished and evocative portraits ever written about Sudanese society at the time of independence.
Visit Leila Aboulela's website.