03 November 2009
Sweetness in the Belly
I picked this one up on Melissa's recommendation a few weeks ago and enjoyed it as much as she did. In fact, I'd have to say this is one of the better books I've ever read. The characterization was perfect, the writing was so pleasant to read, the plot was simple but interesting, and it was different in so many ways.
I'm always interested in the way Islam and Muslims are portrayed in books, and Camilla Gibb does an excellent job of writing from a Muslim perspective. I thought Lilly's thoughts on Islam in the West in the last few pages were especially good, in addition to her experiences as a Muslim in two very different Muslim countries. This is a great book about Islam and its diversity.
The only thing that would have made this book better was for me to have a better understanding of Ethiopia's recent history. I have only the barest outline in my head of the last thirty years and the ethnic and religious differences in the country. But Gibb, who has a PhD in social anthropology and did fieldwork in Ethiopia, doesn't assume that the reader knows anything about Ethiopia and expertly weaves history into the plot- often novels that jump around in time seem a bit forced to me, but Sweetness does it well.