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Leila Aboulela - The Kindness of Enemies pdf book

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Leila Aboulela – The Kindness of Enemies pdf book

Leila Aboulela - The Kindness of Enemies pdf book

Leila Aboulela – The Kindness of Enemies pdf book

The Kindness of Enemies

Author : Leila Aboulela
Publisher : Grove Press (January 5, 2016)
Genre : Literature & Fiction

Book Review

“A versatile prose stylist… [Aboulela’s] lyrical style and incisive portrayal of Muslims living in the West received praise from the Nobel Prize winner J. M. Coetzee… [she is] a voice for multiculturalism.”—New York Times

It’s 2010 and Natasha, a half Russian, half Sudanese professor of history, is researching the life of Imam Shamil, the 19th century Muslim leader who led the anti-Russian resistance in the Caucasian War. When shy, single Natasha discovers that her star student, Oz, is not only descended from the warrior but also possesses Shamil’s priceless sword, the Imam’s story comes vividly to life. As Natasha’s relationship with Oz and his alluring actress mother intensifies, Natasha is forced to confront issues she had long tried to avoid—that of her Muslim heritage. When Oz is suddenly arrested at his home one morning, Natasha realizes that everything she values stands in jeopardy.

Told with Aboulela’s inimitable elegance and narrated from the point of view of both Natasha and the historical characters she is researching, The Kindness of Enemies is both an engrossing story of a provocative period in history and an important examination of what it is to be a Muslim in a post 9/11 world.

Editorial Reviews



An Amazon Best Book of the Month

“Riveting…[a novel] about the wish and murmur of lives lived centuries ago— what they tell us and how we exalt them, long for them, look to them to make our existence sufferable and better still, interesting. There is a tremendous amount going on in The Kindness of Enemies—but it does not crowd the reader. Rather, it hums in hushed and meditative tones through prisoners of war in historic and contemporary fantasy rooted in reality.”—LA Times

“Radiant with historical detail and vivid descriptions . . . The entire novel is, in many ways, an extended rumination on the complexities of being Muslim in the West, but it is also an invitation to see identity as more variegated than the either/or distillations of the Global War on Terror . . . an excellent historical lens through which to project a complex and, seemingly, contradictory Islamic identity from the past into the present . . . The Kindness of Enemies reads as a well-crafted but quiet plea for the kind of humanism that once allowed enemies to respect one another.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“Timely, vastly important, and brilliantly engaging.”—Bustle, 17 Of January 2016’s Best Books To Fire Up Your New Year

“A fascinating combination of Leo Tolstoy’s Hadji Murat and A.S. Byatt’s Possession.”—The Millions, Most Anticipated Books of 2016

“Leila Aboulela’s The Kindness of Enemies…recreates the fascinating story of the rebel of the Caucasus, Imam Samil, a 19th-century warrior who battled to defend his home against the invading Russians and united the Muslims of the region under his iconic leadership. Weaving the story of his relationship with a Georgian princess he kidnapped into a more contemporary story of mistaken terrorism, we learn much about the nature of loss, the legacy of exile, and the meaning of home at a time in our world when all three are high in our minds.”
—Mariella Forstrup, The Guardian Best Books of 2015

“A richly imagined novel about a half-Russian, half-Sudanese professor whose studies of a 19th-century Muslim leader become a portal into his world. The story alternates between two narratives: his in the Caucasus Mountains of the 1830s and hers in the present day.”—Travel + Leisure

“In this remarkable and highly suspenseful novel Leila Aboulela moves back and forth between contemporary Scotland, where everyone is on the watch for terrorism, and nineteenth century Russia, where Iman Shamil is fighting for his freedom. The Kindness of Enemies is a wonderful evocation of faith and fate and what it means to be an outsider.”—Margot Livesey

“Aboulela challenges readers with thought-provoking ideas about the meaning of jihad,then and now, and demonstrates how ignorance of another’s beliefs prohibits us from embracing our common humanity.”—Library Journal

“Aboulela, winner of the Caine Prize, pens an ambitious tri-continental story covering more than 200 years and tackling themes of Islamic faith, personal heritage, and the disparity between academic and personal reconstructions of historic events…a nuanced story of identity and sense of place.”—Publishers Weekly

“Aboulela seamlessly moves between 2010 Scotland and the stories set in the nineteenth century and shows how complex geopolitical processes can lead to unlikely alliances…an astute exploration of the fluidity of identity that proves just how ineffective a check-the-boxes approach to the issue can truly be.”—Booklist

“Aboulela makes it clear not only that the current conflict between East and West has old roots, but also that “East” and “West” are little more than convenient fictions. . . . . Aboulela is a great storyteller, and she writers with clarity and elegance. A pleasurable and engaging read for fans of both contemporary and historical fiction.”—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Leila Aboulela won the first Caine Prize for African Writing. She is the author of four books: Lyrics Alley; The Translator, a New York Times 100 Notable Book of the Year;Minaret; and a book of short stories, Colored Lights.

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