After her Hippie parents are murdered, Lilly, an eight year old white girl is raised as a Sufi Muslim in Morocco At the age of 16 she undertakes a gruelling overland spiritual pilgrimage from Morocco to Ethiopia, where she boards with a poor family in the mostly Muslim town of Harar, earning her keep through teaching the Qur an to local children The 1970 s are a harsh time in Ethiopia, and life for Lily is not easy As a single woman in a Sufi Muslim society, she is treated with suspicion As a white woman a Faranji , she needs to earn every ounce of respect from all her surroundings After the fall of Haile Selaisse, she is forced to leave Ethiopia and she finds herself in London running an agency that helps Ethiopian refugees to find their relatives while searching for her own Gibb depicts the life of a ferengi foreign white European woman Lilly living as a devout Muslim in two settings Harar, Ethiopia and London, England Through this character s eyes, we learnabout people in this African nation, struggling with day to day tasks amid political, economic, cultural and religious tensions both in their native country and abroad as refugees The author creates a number of compelling characters who inhabit a variety of positions in the spectrum of the Muslim experience male female, conservative progressive, westernized traditional, monied poor, etc It s a good book for showing that the Islam world is not monolithic The book as strong literary merits as well The auther does a good job using fractured chronol In Ethiopia And South London, This Is The Story Of A Young White Englishwoman Raised As A Muslim, In A Remarkable And Moving Examination Of Race, Religion And Identity In Today S World Previous Novels By The Author Include Mouthing The Words And The Petty Details Of So And So S [Camilla Gibb] ✓ Sweetness in the Belly [space PDF] read Online ↠´ Life Lilly is the only child of a couple of wandering, hippy English parents born in Yugoslavia, breast fed in the Ukraine, weaned in Corsica, freed from nappies in Sicily and walking by the time we got to the Algarve In Morocco, she s left in the care of the Great Abdal while her parents go jaunting, only to learn she is suddenly an orphan Raised by the Great Abdal, a muslim Sheikh, and Mohammed Bruce Mahmoud, a fiery haired ex British Muslim convert, she found that once I was led into the absorption of prayer and the mysteries of the Qu ran, something troubled in me became still When she is 16, she and her friend Hussein make a pilgrimage to the city of Harar in Ethiopia, to the compound of Sheikh Jami Abdullah Rahman, direct descendent of a saint On route, they stay at the Emperor of Ethiopia s palace, courtesy of a letter of introduction from Mohammed Sweetness in the Belly is the moving and heart warming story of Lilly Abdal Told in her own words, it adds to it a special liveliness, directness and authenticity Camilla Gibb has succeeded in creating a rich and detailed account of the life of a young woman caught between cultures and identities It is also a love story at different levels Her narrative alternates between periods during the four dramatic years in Ethiopia and those during ten years in London, after leaving Ethiopia in 1974, at the end of Emperor Haile Selassi s reign Gibb s novel is fast moving and particularly compelling in its portrayal of Lilly s life in the holy city of Harar At the same time, she is conveying in depth insights into the respective realities there and in England and establishes the religious and cultural context that surround the heroine with great subtlety and credibility Alternating with accounts Honestly i just finished the book and the one thing i can say is that it has enlighten something within me and this passage has left a strong impression within me For all the brutality that is inflicted upon us, we still possess the desire to be polite to strangers We may have blackened eyes, but we still insist on brushing our hair We may have had our toes shot off by a nine years old, but we still believe in the innocence of children We may have been raped, repeatedly, by two men in a Kenyan refugee camp, but we still open ourselves to the ones we love We may have lost everything, but we still insist on being generous and sharing the little that remains We still have dream When we wake up to a fresh morning sunlight and forget what went wro ↠´ Sweetness in the Belly ↠´ i hesitate to outrightly use terms like predictable and cliche, but this book is rife with common now afflictions third world vs first world transition, cross cultural spirituality, etc that reveal quite a lot about the story s eventual outcome while the story might beabout the journey than the destination, none of the revelations or realizations really sneak up on or enlighten the reader.
This story was so well written I had to check the front cover a couple of times that it was indeed A Novel The story switches back and forth in time, and the author does it so well I was easily able to read without the dissonance I often feel with the technique The story of a white Muslim woman in Ethiopia during the times of great changes, this story is also a scrabble lover s dream Words like QAT, SUQ, MIRQANA, andare used throughout I won t have any trouble remembering those words during my scrabble games

I really need to revise my ratings, as this is one of my all time favourites, up there with People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks This is a work of fiction that reads like a colourful symphonyartfully composed and flowing with notes both wistful and poignant Ms Gibb transports the reader into the dusty streets of Africa, squatting in the dirt to dry chillies, or chewing qat to get high Then readers struggle along with the characters in their daily grind as deposed refugees in Thatcher s England, amidst a population of Pommies growing increasingly resentful of their presence.
I loved this story, the way it is told from a truly unique perspective that of a young girl orphaned when her hippy parents are killed, and left to be raised by another ex pat Brit w The book was well written, and I liked how it jumped between time periods But I just didn t feel any pressure to keep reading it waslike a story of the life of book with no climax or hook just kinda ended Amazing how she was able to completely depict Ethiopia in the pages though I read this after coming back from there and I could completely picture the streets and imagine the characters Another caveat though her descriptions of Islam were not really accurate much of the practices there are cultural and span Muslim and Christian communities I found that in Ethiopia, unlike the impression from the book, Muslim and Christian communities live in harmony with each other.

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