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Bird Summons Reviews

Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela

Bird Summons

Leila Aboulela

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 7 Mar 2019
ISBN: 9781474600125

An enchanting, deeply felt portrait of three women searching for freedom, from the three-times Orange Prize longlisted, Scottish Book Award and Caine Prize winner Leila Aboulela.

3 stars out of 5

"[a] lyrical examination of identity"

Aboulela’s prose is restrained but warm. There is a calm amusement in her tone when the women mock the overly conservative men in their lives, one of whom is so committed to keeping his wife’s hair from male eyes that he makes her remove strands from the plughole. For western readers, Aboulela offers rare and precious insight into the minds of women who believe that husbands should be obeyed – Moni’s dogged devotion to the care of her disabled son, which is tenderly described early in the novel, is viewed by her friends as a betrayal of her marriage vows... However, the author’s talents are sadly undermined by the arrival of a bird who speaks in parables, and the book descends into an extended fantastical sequence that pays tribute to magic realism but lacks the scaffolding to pull it off.