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Nadia's Song

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  341 ratings  ·  47 reviews
"You will have great sorrow in your life, and loss," the old woman foretold. "But you will also have great triumph and joy. And only Allah knows in what measure."

Alexandria, Egypt. Born a humble servant girl on a cotton plantation owned by a wealthy British family, Karima Ismail never imagined how far her dreams would take her---nor the heartache and passion in store. Alth
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Forge Books (first published 1999)
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Aaminah Shakur
Jun 20, 2011 Aaminah Shakur marked it as books-not-finished
When I read the dedication to Dody Fahed "cousin" I grew suspicious and checked who the author is only to discover that she is of a prominent Saudi family. This made me immediately concerned about the way money has a hand in who gets published, often money over quality, and why certain "voices" are prized above others. Add to that glowing words from Jean Sasson and I admit, I went into this book with concerns.

I only read the prologue, which does open an intriguing story, and the first chapter.
Initially, I thought the most interesting thing about this book was that the author was the aunt of Dodi Al Fayad, yea Princess Di's Dodi. I was recommended to read this book by one of the patrons at the library I work at. Starting to read this book, I wasn't that interested in the characters or the story, not the fault of the author, but because this wouldn't have been a book I picked up on my own. The book is a discussion of the tensions between the British and Egyptians following WW2 and how ...more
I really liked this book. Although it sat on my shelf for a while and I had several false starts, it ended up being one of those reads that you wonder why it took you so long to get into. I think my false starts were do to my assuming it would be about one thing but it actually being another, which was fine. I liked it. I just had to sit and force myself to go past two chapters to really get into it. That being said, this book was truly chock full of story, historical detail, geographical inform ...more
Prepare to be swept away in this epic tale of joy and pain, set against a background spanning from the end of WW2 right up to the 90's. If you have the time, this book can easily be read in a day. So well written, the story flows beautifully and draws you closer with each page. The characters are vibrant, engaging - you just have to keep reading to find out what happens next! I will definitely read this book again, and highly recommend it.
I really liked this book.I picked this book up at a used book store. It sat on my shelf for a year while I read alot of new releases. What a fool I was. When I started it I was captured. This book is rich in Egyptian history yet it does not overpower the actual story. A young Egyptian girl and a British boy grow up together, fall in love..Because of culture differences and other obstacles (spoilers) their lives take different turns.She becomes a famous singer, dealing with many
obstacles that ocu
A moderately interesting historical fiction novel set in Egypt from 1940 to the mid 80's. The novel follows a peasant girl who becomes a famous singer and her daughter. The language is somewhat hackneyed and most of the characters are one-dimensional.
It is interesting to see the modern history of Egypt from a slightly different view than we usually get here in the US.
Romantic sing-songy ballad of a novel. The highs and lows of life...tragedies and, birth and death. Mostly set in Egypt but also in Paris and New York City. It is truly Nadia/Gabby's life song focusing on her mothers and fathers, with some other family members. Loved all the historical background of modern Egypt.
The beginning of the book is slow, so it was hard getting into it. However, it soon picked up pace. A very well written book. I highly enjoyed the description of the overwhelming feelings of the main character, Nadia. I recommend this book to those who enjoy reading fictional books, that deal with social issues as well.
Sadaf Hassan
A powerful story of tragedy and triumph and the forbidden love. The beginning was great and then the story just began to fray. I liked the way Soheir Khashoggi started some of the chapters with what I considered an “update” on Egyptian events.
An incredible tragedy that will entertain you all the way through. It captures the turmoil of the Middle East and juxtaposes it with the inner turmoil of the soul confronted with modernity. It's a very compelling read.
I really enjoyed this book. Factual history backs the story which I always enjoy. A very light read that captured my heart with the story of a Woman in Egypt.
I learned from this book the life of women and men and how they struggle to survive and love. The child , Nadia, is the daughter of Karima, a Muslim women who fell in love with a English man named Charels, but Charels was killed in a car acciedent. The book speaks of what lenghts people are wiling to go for family. My only complaint about this book is the way they portray the Egyptian women. They show them as, yes, strong, but at the same time powerless. However, it shows the Arab world in a dif ...more
This book is what I like about historical fiction with a stong historical background but within a fictional story. It covers the era between the 1940's to the 90's. An era of Egyptian history that I knew so little about. Somehow today in Egypy history seems to be repeating itself. The story is well written and it's interesting to follow the life and trials of Kirima and her daughter Nadia/Gabby. I had this on my shelf for a while before reading. Glad I finally picked it up for a well worth read. ...more
May 14, 2008 Nomanisan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pretty much anyone
What a wonderful read. Kashoggi writes well (with a few recurrent grammatical problems that probably no one would notice but a picky English teacher) with well-developed characters and riveting scenes. There's a slimy, vicious villain whom you will desperately want to receive his just deserts, and an extremely sympathetic Egyptian girl/woman whose life gives an eerie insight on Islamic thought. The fact that this book was published in 1999 gives it even more value.
I was absolutely amazed, I hav
Taylor Courier
This was in my opinion a good book. My only complaint was that the ending felt rushed. Like the author thought to herself I'm sick of this and want to be done. That was my only complaint.
Found in SHB's pile when we installed the Readers Stand 8/5/2010
volumn appears un read. I believe I read this before but still good entertainment. restarted 8/8/2010 Having lived through much of the timeline of the story. The History was familiar. The Wealthy Egyptian point of view was not unfamiliar this time the betrayal and deceit, corruption and Royal misbehavior mearly detailing what I had learned in history, and side comments from my earlier reading. Still a good book with proper reference
Chaithra K.n
Read long time back. Want to read again.
Christine Leibert
Good book, like how history was incorporated into the story. A little all over the place at times. I would recommend it to a friend.

After reading Mosaic by same author, I really looked forward to another of her books. BUT this was very disappointing to me... didn't catch my attention, had to do major skimmming,and finally read the last section to end the agony. This book had a lot of flashbacks, historical inserts, and a bit of a plot for the main characters. It spanned a lot of years and felt very disjointed.

What will the next Khashoggi book be like?

I almost stopped about fifty pages from the end, if that gives you any idea of how much I didn't like this book. The multi-generational element is always a turn off, as is inserting bits of straight history lesson that will only involve our characters peripherally. But the real problem with this book is that I don't trust the author's historical fiction to be more history than fiction. I suspect she was pushing her own agenda (women's lib in the Middle East) which turned many of the characters i ...more
Hanan Kato
For people unfamiliar with the Middle East culture, this could be interesting. But for those who are, this is a cliché story by all means. The author is wealthy enough and well connected to get herself published, though...
A book not worth reading as far as I'm concerned.
Set in Egypt, starting in the 1940's and follows Karima, a native with an amazing voice. This is the story of her life and her daughter's. Interesting story, but the backdrop of Egypt during and after WWII is the most interesting. Written by Dodi Fayed's aunt.
I grabbed it in a drug store before I got on a plane home from Florida thinking I just needed something to pass the time. Again, I ended up liking it more than I expected. It's a sad, lost-love story, but it's not a typical one which made it more interesting.
Wendy Brown-Baez
This is a personal story of a singer who experiences tragedy and triumph, incredible loss and survival and joy and pours them into her music. The sweep of history from the World War II until the Gulf war in Eygpt is fascinating.
George O'ngoha
I learned that the society hasnt really changed that much especially where gender roles are concerned.. But also that a true spirited fight wins in the end..Trials, temptations, betrayals, murder and tears... I cried..
How the Europeans controlled the Middle East for so many years. An OK book, I would give it a 2 star rating. Some twists that didn't add to the story and the ending was not believable.
Soni Martin
The book was good but I wouldn't say outstanding...I felt there were so many different characters that I didn't feel that there was much depth to them and I didn't really get to know them.
I was unable to finish this book. The narrative about the battles was just too much for me to bear and I couldn't make myself plow through them. Certainly a disappointment.
Sep 06, 2013 Tammy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women
Shelves: contemporary, re-read
This is not my normal time period (1940's through 1990's), or my normal region (mostly Egypt). It was a touching women novel that was a nice change from the norm.
Lynn Jones
Rather mediocre, while it could have been more profound given the content, it felt "frothy." Still, good story to be told - or sung.
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The Story 1 1 Jun 26, 2010 05:14PM  
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Soheir Khashoggi is a Saudi Arabian writer. A member of one of Saudi Arabia's most prominent families (her brother is the illustrious millionaire Adnan Khashoggi and her father was the royal physician), she was born in Alexandria, Egypt, attended university in Beirut, Lebanon, and is now living in New York City.
She has published three novels, Mirage, Mosaic, and Nadia's Song.
More about Soheir Khashoggi...
Mirage Mosaic Im Namen meiner Kinder Reader's Digest Select Editions, Volume 280, 2005 #4: Bait / Mosaic / One Shot / Diving Through Clouds Reader's Digest Condensed Books Volume 4 1996

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“Death wasn't a movie where the pretty star faded away with a touch of pale makeup and every hair in place.” 9 likes
“Was it always to be like this? she wondered. A moment of joy followed by a new sorrow?” 7 likes
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