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Leila Aboulela’s novel Lyrics Alley (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) is the story of an affluent, influential Sudanese family shaken by the shifting powers in their country and the near tragedy that threatens the legacy they’ve built for decades.
Leila Aboulela takes readers to the heart of what it means to have faith in an unforgiving world. Moving from the alleys of Sudan to cosmopolitan Cairo and a decimated post-colonial Britain, this sweeping tale of desire and loss, faith, despair, and reconciliationis one of the most accomplished and evocative portraits ever written of Sudanese society at the time of independence.
From the moment when, as a little girl, she realizes that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her birth parents, her Highland mother and Nigerian father, the journey that Jackie Kay undertakes in Red Dust Road (Picador) is full of unexpected twists, turns and deep emotions.
The waif-like figure peering from Bonnard’s “The Breakfast Room” instils a sense of mystery and marginality in the title poem of Stewart Conn’s The Breakfast Room (Bloodaxe). Among other portents of transience in his latest collection are two briefly glimpsed duck shooters. Responses to music, tinged with warmth and humour, highlight the redeeming power of art. The book concludes with a group of love poems imbued with tenderness and a treasuring of the here and now.
In Sue Peebles’ novel The Death of Lomond Friel (Vintage), Rosie, a successful radio presenter, hears that her father has had a stroke and finds herself making reckless decisions that make little sense to those around her. As she strives towards building some kind of future for herself and her father, he quietly plots his own death . . .