Leila Aboulela ‘s Novel is a wonderful piece, it takes you in a journey to the Sudan in the period before and during independence, it showed many customs, traditions, real places that were at that time. It also went to Egypt to show the contrast between these two countries at that time, and to show also similarities and bonds that were exited between these countries.
The Novel is based on a true story which is Hassan Awad Aboulela’s (Leila Aboulela’s Uncle) life story, a famous poet from the 1950’s, he’s family was one of the biggest and richest families at that time, some of the characters are real and some were added (as the author’s said) just to add more fiction to the novel.
In my personal view, I loved the novel, for it took me to a time that I’ve only heard about. It has introduced me to people that were significant in the early times of my beloved country Sudan; and last but not least I could chat with my mom about Hassan Aboulela and what did she know about him, she ended up showing me pictures of him and we listened to a song if his. She got interested when she knew that there is a novel that talks about him, and she definitely wants to read it.
Characters were great, and the love story where presented in a wonderful way, I still have some critical points, but the overall was above than just good.
I encourage every sudanese & every one who is interested to know the history of the early days of Sudan, specially the culture, tradition and the arts, to read this novel.