Monday, June 18, 2007

BOOK: The Translator by Leila Aboulela

The Translator is a simple love story, about finding faith and about the life of an exile. Sammar is a Sudanese widow living and translating in Scotland. She begins coming out of a four year mourning period due to the attention of Rae, an expert on Islam and the Middle East. Sammar has been, I hesitate to say living, but going through the motions in Scotland while her aunt/mother-in-law raises her son in Sudan. Rae begins to bring her back to life and Sammar begins to come alive. Her faith in Islam is a stumbling block and the book details her awakening as she returns to Sudan, but she doesn't fit in there either.

I felt so much sympathy for Sammar as she tries to fit in everywhere - she never fit in to Scotland, and her return to Sudan is rough as they see her as an outsider. The writing was lovely and the two countries are wonderfully described. This is a gentle story, more of a character study, but the settings are important too. I prefer a little more story, less lyrical writing, but I enjoyed the book each time I picked it up, and I really enjoyed Sammar and would have liked to know her. She was a strong woman, but her life is so different from mine, in so many respects. I would like to read more about Islam and I enjoyed how her faith guided all her decisions.

3 comments:

Laura said...

I'm glad you liked this one! I agree with your preference for a little more story, but found the writing wonderful.

Jill said...

I definitely will have to add this book to my TBR list, especially after your and Laura's reviews!

Stephanie said...

Hmmmm....I don't think I would have added this to my list without your review. It does sound really good!