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The Translator

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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,175 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
American readers were introduced to the award-winning Sudanese author Leila Aboulela with Minaret, a delicate tale of a privileged young African Muslim woman adjusting to her new life as a maid in London. Now, for the first time in North America, we step back to her extraordinarily assured debut about a widowed Muslim mother living in Aberdeen who falls in love with a Scot ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 14th 2006 by Grove Press, Black Cat (first published 1999)
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Zanna
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Warning to readers! This edition includes an incredibly annoying introduction by Anne Donovan which praises Aboulela's text in rather general terms and summarises the plot, as if you want the whole thing spoiled for you before beginning! It isn't a gripping thriller full of twists, granted, but that doesn't mean I don't want to be surprised by what the author hasn't chosen to reveal in advance. This would have made a perfectly inoffensive and even pleasant afterword, if one were needed, but I wa ...more
Sadia
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is undoubtedly one of the best books I've had the opportunity to read. The characters make your heart soar, the dialogues, images, themes are all profoundly moving. I have not had such an emotional response to a piece of fiction in a long time. I learned many things from this book: I remembered prayer, I thought of loss, and love and the pervasive nature of love that allows you to conquer fear and stigma. I learned about the beauty of the human spirit to persevere, to hold onto love despite ...more
Alicia
Sep 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The story of (oddly enough) a translator:) This is about a Sudanese widow who has embraced her Islamic religion. She is living in Scotland when she start working as an Arabic translator for an Islamic scholar who is not a believer. After they fall in love she must decide what is stronger, her love or her faith. What this novel explores with great finesse is the true nature of faith. What it means to be faithful and what it means to give your life over to that. The language in this novel is a joy ...more
رياض المسيبلي
إذا كانت رواية (موسم الهجرة ...) للراحل العظيم الطيب صالح تمثل حيرة الجنوب أمام الشمال الأوروبي, أو الشرق
أمام الغرب, والهزة العنيفة التي تولدت من هكذا لقاء, فإنّ رواية الأستاذة ليلى على النقيض من ذلك تماما.
إنها قصة امراة تحافظ على هويتها وتحمل ذاتها المسلمة العربية صامدة أمام الاكتساح الغربي.
إنها رواية آلام الغربة والبعد عن الوطن, آلام صراع الهوية والدفاع عنها, وقصة ألم المرأة الشرقية التي تنبت في
أوطانها وتلاحقها أينما حلت.
رواية رائعة, لكاتبة أروع
Deepti
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Translator is about Sammar, a Muslim widow, who moves to Scotland with her husband before he dies in a car accident. Its a moving and accurate tale about a demographic that is inexplicable to most Westerners: the Muslim woman. The tale starts with Sammar translating a document sent by a terrorist group. She notes how rife with spelling mistakes it is, how pathetic and instantly creates a barrier between Muslims like her, and uneducated extremists like them, fighting against a force they don' ...more
Imas
Setelah sempat membaca beberapa lembar dan kemudian ditinggalkan, aku mulai membaca buku ini dari awal lagi.

Aku suka dengan cara Aboulela menulis kalimat-kalimat dalam buku ini. Benar-benar membawa emosi dengan cara yang begitu lembut. Kesedihan, kekosongan dan dilema yang dialami sang tokoh memang terasa.

Ini tentang Sammar, perempuan Sudan yang lahir di Inggris kemudian kembali ke Sudan bersama orangtuanya. Setelah dewasa dan menikah dengan sepupunya Tarig, Sammar pindah ke Skotlandia bersama
...more
Catherine
Apr 09, 2009 rated it liked it
I was both absorbed by and ambivalent about this book - which is an oddity, because I wouldn't have thought it was possible to be both at once. But here I am - absorbed and ambivalent - having wanted very much to see where the story would go, and yet not really finding Aboulela's writing particularly compelling.

The Translator focuses on the life of Summar, a young, Sudanese widow in Aberdeen, who translates Arabic texts for a department at the local university. There she meets Rae, an Islamic sc
...more
Faith
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love Aboulela's writing style. In this novel, like her latter two, she has a precise yet lyrical writing style that really pulls the reader in. Aboulela can take the mundane and show just how special it really is. Whether it's the daily prayer that Muslims do, taking a child to school or sitting in an office and eating lunch with a co-worker, Aboulela manages to make these ordinary activities into something profound and meaningful with just a few words.

As with her other novels, Aboulela
...more
Lila
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Spoiler alert ( even though the spoiler is hidden)
Set in Scottland and Sudan, this novel is both moving and light. The story follows the life of a widowed Sudanese academic who works as a translator for a university professor. The author Leila Aboulela is extremely gifted in describing the leading characters thought process and alternating seamlessly between what is currently happening in her life, her feelings, memories and conversations. She describes very well the feeling of what it is like
...more
Samar Almossa
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
لقد أمتعتني الكاتبة بهذه الرواية المميزة جداً والتي تستحق الجائزة التي حصلت عليها
هي شرف لنا كمسلمة وروائية واقعية

. ليلى كاتبة متمكنة ورائعة ومؤثرة كم أعجبنتي القصة خصوصا حين أخذت الأحداث مجراها في السودان . مميزة بحق


بداية الرواية حتى منتصفها ممل بعض الشيء ولكن
ماأن تتفجر الأحداث في المنتصف حتى تصبح جذابة جداً
تتناول حياة أرملة كانت تعمل في مكتب

تتعلق بصاحبه وتتمنى أن ترتبط به ولكن هناك أزمات هناك فرق في الديانة وفي أمور كثيرة
تركت الغربة وعادت إلى بلدها " السودان " لتواجه مواقف مختلفه مع عائلته
...more
Ibtisam hashim
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was expecting a lot from this novel when i bought it! I am now disappointed..2 stars for its beautiful language & the rich scent of Sudan!
I hated the gloomy side of Sammar,i hated her detachment from her son(her own flesh & blood),i hated how she cornered Rae to convert &marry her! LoL
I loved the Sudan part of the story..it was closer to my soul!!
Jessica
Jan 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
This is a beautiful novel, one which provides a window onto the Islamic faith and hope that there might be understanding between East and West.
Aliaa Elwasila
تجربتي الأولى مع الكاتبة ... تجربة تستحق الاعادة ، اعجبتني القصة والاسلوب
Amanda
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5
Chahrazad
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-the-world
So this is one of the moments when the mood for a nice love story strikes me. A love story not like the cheesy ones we see nowadays, but rather something of a transcendatalist nature.... And I found this one!

Sammar, a Sudanese widowed translator, who lives in Aberdeen Scotland, faces loneliness and exile as her beloved husband, Tarig, dies in a car accident. Her faith keeps her from surrendering to a hollow life or to an inevitable suicide. She meets Rae, an Islamic scholar in the university whe
...more
Hafsa
May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Refreshing, serene, and honest. I think this is one of the first books I've read either about or by a Muslim woman that didn't make me want to bang my head against the wall.

The two main characters--Rae and Sammar--are described so beautifully--and I enjoyed the simple way in which she described their budding relationship. The themes of love and loss, doubt and faith, prayer and patience, were beautifully navigated. One of my favorite lines was near the end, when Rae tells Sammar that what he re
...more
Freda
Jul 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: islamicfiction
This is a wonderful book in every way - well written, true to life. The central character is a Muslim woman of Sudanese origin,Sammar, living in Scotland. She falls in love with a Scot secular Islamic scholar and goes through the agony of loving him but knowing that she has to keep her Islamic distance from him. Finally she pleads with him to take the Shahadah so they can marry. He refuses because he isn't sure that he believes. Since it is a 'romance' it ends happily when he accept Islam in his ...more
Judy
Sammar, a Sudanese widow, lives in Scotland and works as an Arabic translator at an Aberdeen university. She surfaces from debilitating grief as she realizes that love has slowly developed between her and a Scottish scholar of Arabic/Islamic studies.
Aboulela convincingly describes the anguish of Sammar's cross-cultural dilemmas. She brings to life scenes of Aberdeen and Khartoum. I highly recommend this sweet love story!
Zahrah Awaleh
Dec 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this better than The Minaret because the characters are more rounded and complex. You really get inside the head of the heroine and feel what it's like to experience bereavement in exile. She finally shows the reader that she's strong enough to set free the man she loves , only for him to return to her as a Muslim. This part was a bit sentimental I suppose and predictable, but the girl deserves some happiness!!!
Roma
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: islam, romance, novel
Sammar, the Sudanese translator, is a young widow who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. She falls in love with her employer, an ultra-left wing Islam-groupie. At first, he's unwilling to take the plunge and convert, but in the end he does. So, happily ever after. LOL

This novel is reasonably well-written, though.
Samantha
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Finally, a romance where the female does lose who she is and what she can be to get the male. The protagonist stays true to herself and falls in love! The gorgeous prose offers a glimpse into the life of a Muslim widow.
Ayesha Syeda
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Since I am writing this review a year after I read the book, I'll only touch upon certain things about this story that have stuck with me even after a year has gone by.
I absolutely loved the simplicity of the language and the way in which Aboulela weaved the two worlds of a Sudanese woman living in modern-day Scotland; struggling to bridge the cultural difference. And Aboulela does this in the best possible way, through a love story. The love evolves gradually and tugs at the reader's heartstrin
...more
Roberta Emerson
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
_John_
May 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not good, I was forced to read this for class, it was described as the 'Muslim Jane Eyre', in not sure if the person who said that has read Jane Eyre, but I have, and this is nothing like it. It's not Good plain and simple.

Do not waste your time reading this
Dee
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A gentle story in a surprising setting - a widowed Sudanese Muslim woman working as an Arabic translator in a Scottish university, and how her faith sustains her through some dark times. Spoiler: there is light at the end of the tunnel!!
Ivy
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Easy read-love story-you know how it is going to end. Well written, you could feel the characters thoughts and emotions.
Ayaanle Hori areh
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Horta sheekadani maxay la wadaagtaa ama se aanay la wadaagi sheekadii Dayib Saalix ee " Kalkii Hayaanka Waqooyi"? Wax badan, labada gooraale ba.
Viana
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. A well-written book about the power of faith and love. Very descriptive writing that made it easy to imagine both Aberdeen and Khartoum, the main settings for the book.
AnthouG
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contem-lit
Μια χήρα μουσουλμάνα μεταφράστρια ερωτεύεται έναν χριστιανό καθηγητή Πανεπιστημίου.
Averill Earls
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Not the worst book I've ever read, but I wouldn't read it again.
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Leila Aboulela grew up in Khartoum, Sudan where she attended the Khartoum American School and Sister School. She graduated from Khartoum University in 1985 with a degree in Economics and was awarded her Masters degree in statistics from the London School of Economics. She lived for many years in Aberdeen where she wrote most of her works while looking after her family; she currently lives and lect ...more
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“This is the enemy, what is irreversible, what has already reached the farthest of places. There is no going back. They can bomb bus-loads of tourists, burn the American flag, but they are not shooting the enemy. It is already with them, inside them, what makes them resentful, defensive, what makes them no longer confident of their vision of the world.” 6 likes
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