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Bird Summons

To make an effort to belong And when her old boyfriend Amir starts messaging her she is tempted to risk the life she has worked so hard to build Moni has been caring for her disabled son Adam for five years and is reaching breaking point Her husband wants them to join him in Saudi Arabia but Moni is reluctant to uproot her son taking him to a country where his condition will render him an outcast Iman the youngest of the three in her late twenties and yet on her third husband is burdened by her I was struggling with this book couldn t sympathise with the three main figures found them uite annoying and couldn t relate to their stories I admit that reading a book is not always about finding the main figures nice and relatable rather also about learning from someone else s experiences that might not be yours but a reading experience is usually so much nicer when you can relate Also style helps and the style switching from a realistic description to some sort of supernatural fantasy with lengthy wise stories told by a bird wasn t mine either In the book Salma Iman and Moni three Arab women living in Scotland are heading off for a week at a loch to visit Lady Evelyn Cobbold s grave view spoiler Salma is a studied Egyptian doctor married to a Scottish person wasn t able to pass her tests to have her diploma recognised in Scotland so then became a massage therapist and feels inferior and like a failure due to not being a doctor any At the same time she s uite bossy and not very considerate of other people s feelings hence why I didn t enjoy reading her interaction with the other two and to top it all accepts a friendship reuest and starts a virtual affair with her university sweetheart whom she had left to get married to her Scottish husband Really So immature Everyone knows you re not supposed to start a new relationship before sorting out your old ones Turns out she s falling for this mainly because he makes her feel like she is a doctor he reminds her of the status she had back home in Egypt Iman is a Syrian refugee in Scotland her main feature is being beautiful and loved by men and a bit lazy trying to just secure a good marriage so that her life can be comfortable and unsuccessfully trying to fall pregnant She was married off at the age of 15 widowed in Syria married again to a criminal who brought her to Scotland but had to go to jail and divorced her to set her free then secretlyunofficially married to another Arab student in Scotland who really just married her for sex so he could stay free from sin On the day they are travelling her husband s family finds out about her and forces him to divorce her which lets her shattered in pieces uestioning marriage as a whole Isn t it just a religiously sanctioned form of prostitution reflecting on how she only self defined through her femininity being attractive to men trying to bare a child then taking off her scarf Moni of Sudanese origin used to be successful in banking then got married and had a disabled child that is absorbing all of her energy to the point that she has completely cut off from her husband and only lives for her son Adam Her husband who doesn t really lovecherish the disabled boy is currently in Saudi and everyone around her wants her disabled child to join the father but she refuses as she believes the living conditions for her disabled son are best in the UKDuring the trip all three women let out their ugly sidesegos and start blaming each other for 1 having an affair 2 taking off the scarf 3 refusing any intimacy with the husband each one not really able to see their own shortcomings All three of them are then going through some form of mysticmagical development where realism doesn t play a big role any Salma believes her university sweetheart has come to the loch to join her in the form of a runner that she is following Iman is trying on different costumes cuts her hair and talks to a bird that tells her mystical stories and Moni is spending her time with a little boy who plays with her and happens to have the same name than her son Salma then loses all her musclesforce and becomes all flat Iman loses her femininity and becomes an animal and Moni diminishes in size with every bit of food that she is feeding the little boy who in turn becomes a giant and takes away all her space The flat mat Salma the animal Iman and the little ball Moni get lost in the forest and the bird comes to help them find their way back Obviously in the end the symbolism of it all becomes clear and all three of them can to some extent free themselves from their issues and egos hide spoiler

Free read Bird Summons

Beauty Treated like a pet by her lovers and friends she longs to be alone and freeOn a remote hillside in Inverness each woman is visited by the Hoopoe a sacred bird who comes with fables from Muslim literature and Celtic folklore forcing the women to uestion how much they have sacrificed in the name of love Bird Summons is a haunting fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and religion faith and culture collide confirming Leila Aboulela as a leading storyteller of our times I loved Aboulela s The Translator a stunning novel I also liked her early novel Minaret Bird Summons was disappointing to me I liked it well enough for the first half a realistic mainstream treatment than her others I appreciate that the novel centers on friendship in particular among women as I don t think that important relationship is explored enough in literary fictionThe novel moves from realism to the fantastical first with some elements and then ultimately to a full blown fantasticalmagical realm I wasn t drawn in by this and couldn t reconcile the rift So the novel s charms and lessons ultimately it seemed pedantic were lost on me

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Salma Moni and Iman are embarking on a road trip to the Highlands to pay homage to Lady Evelyn Cobbold the first British woman convert to Islam to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca The women are looking for than a holiday Each wants to escape her life; each wants an answerSalma came up with the idea for the trip Born in Egypt she moved to Scotland for love giving up her right to practise medicine Now a successful masseuse married to David and bringing up their children she feels that she still has The first book I have read by Leila Aboulela an author I ve wanted to read for some time being someone who grew up in one culture and has experienced life in another culture of the variety that interests me the opposite of the colonial visitor There was a time when literary insights into other cultures came predominantly from male explorers of anglo saxon cultures now we are increasingly able to read stories of how it is to be a woman coming from an African or Eastern culture or country living in the West a blend of the richness in perspective of what they bring and the fresh sightedness of their encounter with the place and people they have arrived toBird Summons was all the better for telling a tale of three women They share in common that they belong to the Arabic Speaking Muslim Women s Group although they ve each grown up in different countries So within their group and from that element they have in common they challenge and learn from each other As the reader we get to witness how their attitudes shift and change as they transform within this environment which is strange to them yet they are making it their home and it contributes to the way they are and will be One can not live elsewhere and stay fixed in the past and even when one adapts to a new present it is necessary to continue changing and moving forward no matter what challenges us from the outsideSalma has organised a trip for the members of the group to visit the remote site of a grave of Lady Evelyn Cobbold the first British woman to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca to educate themselves about the history of Islam in Britain however rumours of its defacement cause some to have doubts whittling their numbers to just three Sometimes adversity offers a gift and rather than an overnight visit they decide to stay a week at the loch a resort on the grounds of a converted monastery from where they can leisurely make their way to the graveEach of the three women has a pressing issue that over the week consumes them and the others learn aboutAnd then there is the Hoopoe The wonderful bird that ll take some readers on a side journey to find aboutIt is a wonderful book of three international women their journey which they believe to be a pilgrimage to an important site which becomes an inner voyage of transformationHighly Recommended


About the Author: Leila Aboulela

Leila Aboulela grew up in Khartoum Sudan where she attended the Khartoum American School and Sister School She graduated from Khartoum University in 1985 with a degree in Economics and was awarded her Masters degree in statistics from the London School of Economics She lived for many years in Aberdeen where she wrote most of her works while looking after her family; she currently lives and lect



10 thoughts on “Bird Summons

  1. says:

    This was meant to be the ultimate threat the winning card If you don't carry the bundle of your crippled son drape yourself in a black abaya and hop on a plane to Saudi your husband will take another wife You will be replaced; your spot will be taken pg 155This is a strange book As usual I went into this novel completely blind I had no idea what it was about I had no information about the book Imagine my surprise when it turned out I was

  2. says:

    The first book I have read by Leila Aboulela an author I've wanted to read for some time being someone who grew up in one culture and has experienced life in another culture of the variety that interests me the opposite of the colonial visitor There was a time when literary insights into other cultures came predominantly from male explorers of anglo saxon cultures now we are increasingly able to read stories of how it is to be a

  3. says:

    The story follows three women Salma Moni and Iman as they undertake a pilgrimage to the grave of  Lady Evelyn Cobbold the first known Western w

  4. says:

    I could'nt connect with any of the characters I found them annoying and just meh I tried really hard to find any sympathy and anything to like the book

  5. says:

    I was struggling with this book couldn't sympathise with the three main figures found them uite annoying and couldn't relate to their stories I admit that reading a book is not always about finding the main figures nice and relatable

  6. says:

    It has to be a 5 star read The folklore mixed with religious and moral lessons I loved that there was no preaching morality or religion but gentle nudges to be the best human one can be to let life be honest and accept it's changes To live and grow is as sure as our eventual death That the things change the they remain the same As always Aboulela grips me with her writing and makes me close my eyes and think de

  7. says:

    I loved Aboulela's The Translator a stunning novel I also liked her early novel Minaret Bird Summons was disappointing to me I liked it well enough for the first half a realistic mainstream treatment than her others I appreciate that the novel centers on friendship in particular among women as I don't think that important relations

  8. says:

    Leila Abouleila's novel was kindly provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review The book wi

  9. says:

    I had no contact with Miss Aboulela and her style of writing which means I did not have any special expectations for the book This review is also rather long because I had uite a lot of thoughts on itThat said I was definite

  10. says:

    I received a digital ARC from Netgalley for a fair and honest reviewWow This book was not what I expected When I read the synopsis I was expecting a road trip story about three friends who had all emigrated to Scotland I was prepared for culture shock misunderstandings and some laughs But what Ms Aboulela provided was so much Thi

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