Will they soar? Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela

Bird Summons tells the story of three Muslim women who go on a vacation/pilgrimage to visit the grave of a Scottish woman who converted to Islam. Each of these friends has a full life and issues with which to cope. They form the basis of the novel.

Salma was born in Egypt. She was a physician there but is not able to practice her profession in the U.K. Instead, she is a massage therapist. Salma is married to David, who had converted to Islam before they met. Salma has only self-imposed restrictions in her life. She has recently heard from an old love who is still in Egypt. What decisions will she make?

Moni has a traditional marriage although it is a stressed one. Moni has a son with profound developmental issues who is the focus of her life. Will she move to be with her husband back in the Middle East? What would this mean to her son and her?

Imam, the youngest of these friends, has lived her life on the basis of her beauty. She thinks that she has found a relationship that will sustain her but, unfortunately, her partner does not seem willing to face the lack of acceptance of the relationship from his family. Will she come into her own?

The story centers on these characters both as individuals and in their interactions with each other. The novel is a mix of straightforward narrative and strange tales told by a symbolic bird. What do these bird summons mean to the characters? Read the book to find out.

This novel is a good read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in return for my honest review.

#BirdSummons #NetGalley

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Bird Summons

“Tender, but unsentimental. . . rooted in everyday experience without forsaking the spiritual, told in effortlessly enjoyable style.”―Daily Mail

“She’s so good with women’s interiority, and Muslim women’s subjectivity… She gets beyond any cliché or type of the Muslim women.”―BBC Radio

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