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This is my favourite of Leila Aboulela's novels. Like its title, her prose is always lyrical, and Lyrics Alley has an added confidence in its writing.
The novel is set in the 1950s as Sudan approaches independence from the UK. I knew little about Sudan's history, and this is deftly woven into the novel, without dominating it. Lyrics Alley is based on the true story of Aboulela's uncle, who turned to poetry after an accident.
In Lyrics Alley, Mahmoud Abuzeid is a prosperous businessman who is head of an extended family that includes his two wives, his two sons, his brother and his brother's daughters. Mahmoud's two wives are in stark contrast: the first wife is… Read more