Leila Aboulela

The Translator

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A story of love and faith all the more moving for the restraint with which it is written' J.M. Coetzee# 'A lyrical journey about exile, loss and love… poetry in motion' The Sunday Times 'She pulls you into her world as she refracts British life, its smells and sounds, its advertisements and turns of phrase.' Independent 'An exceptionally well-crafted and beautifully written novel' The Guardian Sammar is a young Sudanese widow, working as an Arabic translator at a British university. Following the sudden death of her husband, and estranged from her young son, she drifts, grieving and isolated. Life takes a positive turn when she finds herself falling in love with Rae, a Scottish academic. To Sammar, he seems to come from another world and another culture, yet they are drawn to each other. “The Translator” is a story about love, both human and divine. Leila Aboulela's first novel, first published in 1999, was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the IMPAC Dublin Award, and was shortlisted for the Saltire Prize. It has subsequently appeared in editions worldwide.
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  • b2780788114has quoted2 years ago
    ‘Because no one will take him seriously after that. What would he be? Another ex-hippy gone off to join some weird cult. Worse than a weird cult, the religion of terrorists and fanatics. That’s how it would be seen. He’s got enough critics as it is: those who think he is too liberal, those who would even accuse him of being a traitor just by telling the truth about another culture.’

    ‘A traitor to what?’

    ‘To the West. You know, the idea that West is best.’
  • b2780788114has quoted2 years ago
    Sammar did not like the word orientalist. Orientalists were bad people who distorted the image of the Arabs and Islam. Something from school history or literature, she could not remember. Maybe modern orientalists were different
  • b2780788114has quoted2 years ago
    ‘Rae is different,’ Sammar said. Her voice made it sound like a question.

    ‘In what way?’

    ‘He’s sort of familiar, like people from back home.’

    ‘He’s an orientalist. It’s an occupational hazard.’

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