The Kindness of Enemies

The Kindness of Enemies

Book - 2015
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"A versatile prose stylist... [Aboulela's] lyrical style and incisive portrayal of Muslims living in the West received praise from the Nobel Prize winner J. M. Coetzee... [she is] a voice for multiculturalism."-- New York Times

It's 2010 and Natasha, a half Russian, half Sudanese professor of history, is researching the life of Imam Shamil, the 19th century Muslim leader who led the anti-Russian resistance in the Caucasian War. When shy, single Natasha discovers that her star student, Oz, is not only descended from the warrior but also possesses Shamil's priceless sword, the Imam's story comes vividly to life. As Natasha's relationship with Oz and his alluring actress mother intensifies, Natasha is forced to confront issues she had long tried to avoid--that of her Muslim heritage. When Oz is suddenly arrested at his home one morning, Natasha realizes that everything she values stands in jeopardy.

Told with Aboulela's inimitable elegance and narrated from the point of view of both Natasha and the historical characters she is researching, The Kindness of Enemies is both an engrossing story of a provocative period in history and an important examination of what it is to be a Muslim in a post 9/11 world.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780802124487
0802124488
Branch Call Number: FIC Aboul
Characteristics: 338 pages ; 24 cm.

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brangwinn
Jul 07, 2016

A great story relevant to current events. Natasha is half Russian half Sudanese. Her Russian mother met her father when he was going to college in Russia and moved to Sudan with him. The marriage ended and Natasha moved with her mother and new step-father to his native country of Scotland. She took the Anglo-Saxon last name of her step-father and buried her Muslim past. Her Muslim heritage remained a part of her. As a college professor she taught Muslim studies and in particular about Jihad. Through the friendship of popular British Muslim actress and the actress’ son who has been pulled into police headquarters for terrorist connections, she reconnects her religious heritage. Along with this modern story is the story of a Muslim leader in the mid-1800’s intent on jihad against the Russian empire. The reader comes away with more of an understanding on what it is like for moderate Muslims who live in western cultures today.

multcolib_darceem Apr 08, 2016

I’ve never been disappointed by Leila Aboulela and her latest book is my favorite so far. If you enjoy past-present parallel stories, vivid historical fiction or thought-provoking books that challenge widely held assumptions about cultures and faiths, this is a fantastic book for you!

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