Saturday, March 5, 2016

Leila Aboulela

Leila Aboulela's new novel is The Kindness of Enemies.

From her Q & A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: Your new novel, The Kindness of Enemies, links two very different time periods and a variety of settings. How did you come up with the idea of combining them into one novel?

A: [I] needed a bridge to connect the modern reader to the past. So I introduced a present day character, Natasha Hussein, a half-Russian, half Sudanese lecturer of history, living in Scotland.

Natasha is researching the life of [19th century leader Imam] Shamil, [about whom I had written a BBC Radio play in 2005,] and she is a useful guide to the complexities of the past as well as having her own dilemmas in the present.

Q: How did you research the sections of the book that take place in 19th century Russia and the Caucasus, and was there anything that particularly surprised you?

A: I had already done considerable research for writing the radio play but found that new research about Imam Shamil was published in the meantime.

The most significant resource was...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue