Lyrics Alley

“Lyrics Alley” by Leila Aboulela (Sudan)


Readers enjoyed this well-told story, finding it engaging and easy to read. They felt it was more of a love story than a political novel as the historical setting remains mostly in the background. Readers liked the style of writing and said it played a large part in their enjoyment of the book. They warmed to all the characters, even the not-so-nice ones! Soraya was by far everyone’s favourite. Most readers appreciated the five different narratives as it allowed them alternative points of view and helped the plot unfold episodically. However, one reader would have preferred a more in-depth narrative from a single protagonist rather than the changing perspectives. Readers liked the pace of the novel and agreed that the most shocking moment was the circumcision of the two girls. Overall, it averaged an 8.3 out of 10.


Set in 1950s Sudan, “Lyrics Alley” is the story of the powerful and sprawling Abuzeid dynasty. With Mahmoud Bey at its helm, the family can do no wrong. But when Mahmoud’s son, Nur – the brilliant, charming heir to his business empire – suffers a near-fatal accident, his hopes of university and a glittering future are dashed. Subsequently, his betrothal to his cousin and sweetheart, Soraya is broken off… Read more

Nicola’s Book Club reading list

Season 21 (Oct 2017 – Feb 2018)
“Embers” by Sandor Marai (Hungary)
“Human Acts” by Han Kang (South Korea)
“Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea (Mexico)
“Lyrics Alley” by Leila Aboulela (Sudan) *
“Shantytown” by César Aira (Argentina)

* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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