Minaret

Minaret

Book - 2005
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Baker & Taylor
Raised in a wealthy family in the Sudan, Najwa never imagined that a journey that began at Khartoum university would wind its way to London, where, in her late thirties, she finds herself working as a maid and dreaming about all she has lost. Original. 25,000 first printing.

Perseus Publishing
Leila Aboulela's American debut is a provocative, timely, and engaging novel about a young Muslim woman -- once privileged and secular in her native land and now impoverished in London -- gradually embracing her orthodox faith. With her Muslim hijab and down-turned gaze, Najwa is invisible to most eyes, especially to the rich families whose houses she cleans in London. Twenty years ago, Najwa, then at university in Khartoum, would never have imagined that one day she would be a maid. An upper-class Westernized Sudanese, her dreams were to marry well and raise a family. But a coup forces the young woman and her family into political exile in London. Soon orphaned, she finds solace and companionship within the Muslim community. Then Najwa meets Tamer, the intense, lonely younger brother of her employer. They find a common bond in faith and slowly, silently, begin to fall in love. Written with directness and force, Minaret is a lyric and insightful novel about Islam and an alluring glimpse into a culture Westerners are only just beginning to understand.

Leila Aboulela's American debut is a provocative, timely, and engaging novel about a young Muslim woman -- once privileged and secular in her native land and now impoverished in London -- gradually embracing her orthodox faith. With her Muslim hijab and down-turned gaze, Najwa is invisible to most eyes, especially to the rich families whose houses she cleans in London. Twenty years ago, Najwa, then at university in Khartoum, would never have imagined that one day she would be a maid. An upper-class Westernized Sudanese, her dreams were to marry well and raise a family. But a coup forces the young woman and her family into political exile in London. Soon orphaned, she finds solace and companionship within the Muslim community. Then Najwa meets Tamer, the intense, lonely younger brother of her employer. They find a common bond in faith and slowly, silently, begin to fall in love. Written with directness and force,Minaret is a lyric and insightful novel about Islam and an alluring glimpse into a culture Westerners are only just beginning to understand.


Blackwell North Amer
In her Muslim hijab, with her downturned gaze, Najwa is invisible to most eyes, especially to the rich families whose houses she cleans.
Twenty years ago, Najwa then at university in Khartoum, would never have imagined that one day she would be a maid. An upper-class, westernised Sudanese, her dreams were to marry well and raise a family. But Najwa's days of innocence ended when a military coup forced the young woman and her family into political exile in London.
The years that follow hold more trials for Najwa and she must face the fact that she has come down in the world. But she finds solace in her visits to the Regent's Park Mosque, companionship among the Muslims she meets there and strength in the hijab she adopts. Her dreams of love may have shattered but her awakening to Islam has brought her a different peace.
Then Najwa meets Tamer, the intense, lonely younger brother of her employer. They find a common bond in faith and slowly, silently, begin to fall in love.
Minaret is a portrait of a woman given a second chance at life, and a unique look at the life of a devout Muslim woman in England.

Publisher: New York : Grove Press, 2005
ISBN: 9780802170149
0802170145
Branch Call Number: Fiction Abo
Characteristics: 276 p. ; 21 cm

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GLNovak
Jul 05, 2015

This was a quick and easy read, and probably really a young adult book. Najwa is a privileged Muslim teenager, daughter of a wealthy leading governmental official, living a very secular life in Khartoum, Sudan. A coup changes everything. In exile in London their fortunes change, and Najwa is adrift. I found her change from free-wheeling teenager to subdued, pious woman thought-provoking. Definitely not the usual expectation we Westerners have of someone with the advantages she had. This is an interesting take on how to cope in a new environment, and I was carried along with it. For me, the story fell a bit short. I did not get the depth of emotion or character that would have really explained Najwa's choices.

u
uncommonreader
Oct 09, 2013

The narrator is a woman who was exiled from Sudan to London following a coup, after which her father was executed. She comes down in the world from a position of privledge to working as a maid. She tells of her relationship with her twin brother, whose behaviour is not satisfactorily explained; a radical friend; a family for whom she works and others. Unlike other stories where the immigrant deals with integration to Western society, in this novel the woman identifies herself as a Muslim, not in terms of her nationality, and it is in Britain that she becomes religious and devout. The novel seemed in some ways naive, but Aboulela tells an interesting story.

emilymelissabee Sep 11, 2012

A beautifully written tale by a Sudanese storyteller that explores the intricacies of a contemporary migrant life, navigating between multiple worlds and never feeling quite successful in any of them.

b
Bismah
Feb 05, 2009

Very interesting. I loved the flashbacks and comparison between both her opposite lives.:)

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bzmum
Nov 10, 2008

This story is told from the perspective of a Sudanese girl struggling with her religious identity (Islamic) as well as the clashes in societal classes. Easy to read, well written.

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