Review: Leila Aboulela’s “Minaret”

by writereaderly

Heroine Nadja – wealthy Sudanese party girl – “studies” and awaits marriage in the corrupt upper echelons of Khartoum society. Then there’s a nasty coup, and her quasi boyfriend is involved, and the mean rebels execute Minister Daddy for embezzlement, and Nadja and twin Omar and Mummykins have to flee to fascinating old London to make a new life with all that mysterious money. Blah blah blah, it goes on, and somewhere in the tedium she becomes a born-again Muslim and shacks up with a younger man. Whatever.

I abandoned this one when it became apparent that the writing calibre wasn’t up to my original estimation – “rich and vapid Sudanese woman writes memoir for Cosmopolitan” – and I was forced to adjust it to  “rich and vapid Sudanese woman writes memoir for New Idea”. I cannot believe that Ali Smith and the Guardian and the Independent all gave this book rave reviews, AND it got longlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize. Call me cynical (as I often do), but methinks Aboulela had the good timing to write her “novel” smack when the progressive West was doing anything they could to be nice to Muslim women, what with their governments so busily killing Muslim men, women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan and all. Highly unrecommended.

Where it came from: CM’s donation to my bookshelf
Time and manner of reading: Two bored attempts
Where it went: Abandoned on train
Reminds me of: —
Who I’d recommend it to:
Also reading: Rabbit #4; How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch; Selected Essays by George Orwell; Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks; Picturing Canada by Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman (just the images)