Sweetness in the Belly

Sweetness in the Belly

Book - 2006 | 1st American ed.
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Baker & Taylor
Orphaned at the age of eight, British-born Lilly devotes her life to the teachings of the Qur'an from within a Sufi shrine, but is persecuted for her foreign heritage, forcing her to flee to London, where she is equally disconnected.

Blackwell North Amer
When Lilly is eight years old, her pot-smoking hippie British parents leave her at a Sufi shrine in Morocco and inform her they will be back to collect her in three days. Three weeks later, she learns they've been murdered. Lilly fills that haunted hollow in her life with the intense study of the Qur'an under the watchful eye of the saint's disciple she was entrusted to. Years later, her journey from Morocco to Harar, Ethiopia, is half pilgrimage, half flight. In Harar, even her traditional Muslim head scarves cannot hide her white skin in her strange new surroundings; the word farenji - foreigner - is hissed at her at every turn. She eventually builds a life for herself teaching children the Qur'an, and she finds herself falling in love with an idealistic young doctor. But the two are wrenched apart when Lilly is again forced to flee, this time to London. Despite her British roots, Lilly discovers she is as much of an outsider in London as she was in Harar.

Baker
& Taylor

Orphaned at the age of eight, British-born Lilly studiously devotes her life to the teachings of the Qur'an from within a Moroccan Sufi shrine but is persecuted for her foreign heritage, a situation that remains challenging when she subsequently flees to London and finds herself equally disconnected. By the author of Mouthing the Words. 30,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2006.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9781594200847
159420084X
Characteristics: 338 p. : map ; 22 cm.

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t
tlvanapeldoorn
Mar 14, 2017

Story is about a refugee coming to Canada from Somalia. Gives a good prospective of differences with in the muslim religion. A young white british women is orphaned due to her hippie parents being murdered . She is adopted and brought up as a Sufi Muslim in Morocco.
When she moves to Harar, Ethiopia ( stricter muslim area) she is called a ferungi a foreigner . Despite being brought up as a devout Muslim she is seen as a white women.
She eventually has to leave Harar due to her political affiliation with a deposed, corrupt emperor. She moves to London , England in the 1980's . She once again experiences racial prejudices on many levels.. It is written in a poetic fashion.
A very good read.

l
Lynsey26
Feb 08, 2017

Beautifully crafted.

g
GLNovak
Oct 04, 2016

This is an interesting angle from which to view Islam. Lilly is English but raised as a Muslim first in Morocco and then in Ethiopia after her parents die in a car crash. We first meet her as an adult in London where she works as a nurse, and maintains her religious faith through friendships in the immigrant community. The author entwines the story of her upbringing and life before England with the present day. We see her learning to be a Muslim, and in the here and now staying true to that heritage, all the while functioning in the nonreligious English environment . Her steadfast belief in her future reunification with her Ethiopian love is amazing. The writing kept me reading and kept me liking and hoping that Lilly would be happy.

h
HAMURCHISON
Dec 26, 2015

Well written book that provides a small glimpse at Ethiopia and it's more recent history.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 22, 2015

A truly wonderful novel set in the traumatized refugee communities and grim housing estates of Thatcher's London, where Lilly, a white Muslim nurse, grieves the people she left behind in the chaos and civil unrest of Ethiopia. Deeply committed to the faith she adopted after her ex-pat, hippie parents were killed in Morocco, the rootless Lilly had just begun to find a sense of home in Harar when she was forced to abandon the city and her nascent love affair with Aziz, a political young doctor, for a lonely exile in England.

s
sari
Feb 02, 2014

An incredible story about a young girl of British ancestry ,raised as a Muslim .
The insights about Africa and Muslim history which Gibbs has weaved into a love story showcases the authors gifts.
Shortlisted for a Giller Prize .

m
maghennicole
Sep 24, 2013

Couldn't put it down. Amazing book, extremely well written. The definition of a page-turner.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 22, 2013

Deeply committed to the faith she adopted after her ex-pat, hippie parents were killed in Morocco, the rootless Lilly had just begun to find a sense of home in Harar when she was forced to abandon the city and her nascent love affair with a politically minded young doctor for a lonely exile in England. Living among traumatized refugees in London’s grim housing estates, Lilly, a white Muslim nurse, grieves the people she left behind in the chaos and civil unrest of Ethiopia.

m
miaone
Sep 10, 2012

Near the top of my Best Books list is Sweetness in the Belly. I've re-read it several times; it has enriched my life.

v
vwruleschick
May 28, 2012

Follow Lilly and her English hippie parents through their travels in Africa. While all this nomadic tendencies was making Lilly to want something of substance and stability. She finds her love to Islam (the Qu'ran) and her new life in Morocca after her parents are killed. Then on to Ethiopia where she is put in situations where only an outsider belongs. See how she overcomes her challenges and still hangs on her life when transplanted back to England. But will she ever find her 'Sweetness in the Belly' again?

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