Sweetness in the Belly

By Camilla Gibb
(Penguin Group(CA), Paperback, 9780143038726, 338pp.)

Publication Date: April 2007

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Description
Like "Brick Lane" and "The Kite Runner," Camilla Gibb's widely praised new novel is a poignant and intensely atmospheric look beyond the stereotypes of Islam. After her hippie British parents are murdered, Lilly is raised at a Sufi shrine in Morocco. As a young woman she goes on pilgrimage to Harar, Ethiopia, where she teaches Qur'an to children and falls in love with an idealistic doctor. But even swathed in a traditional headscarf, Lilly can't escape being marked as a foreigner. Forced to flee Ethiopia for England, she must once again confront the riddle of who she is and where she belongs.



About the Author
Camilla Gibb was born in London, England, and grew up in Toronto. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Oxford University for which she conducted fieldwork in Ethiopia. Her two previous novels, Mouthing the Words and The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, have been translated into eleven languages and published to rave reviews around the world. She is one of 21 writers on the "Orange Futures List" -- a list of young writers to watch, compiled by the jury of the prestigious Orange Prize. She is currently Writer in Residence at the University of Toronto.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. Discuss Lilly's role as an outsider and her struggle for acceptance both as a farenji in Harar and as a white Muslim in London. Who else in the novel could be considered an outsider?




Praise For Sweetness in the Belly

Utterly convincing and authentic . . . a novel that will take you to a place so far from yourself that you may wonder, from time to time, whether you are ever coming back. (San Francisco Chronicle)

A story that pierces the heart . . . a lovely and humane book that . . . open[s] up to view distant or closed worlds. (The Miami Herald)

A wonderful feat of imagination and empathy. I had to suppress bitter feelings of literary envy, even as I couldn't stop devouring it. (Louis de Bernieres, author of Captain Corellis Mandolin)

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