I thoroughly enjoyed Leila Aboulela's novel, "Lyrics Aley." It is the story of a Sudanese merchant's family during the early 1050s as Sudan was preparing to become a nation on its own after being connceted to Egypt and being a British colony. The family patriarch, Mahmous Abuzeid, is a successful businessman who has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather making a living buying and selling. His grandfather had a stall in a the bazaar, but now the business has warehouses and shipping in both Sudan and Egypt. Mahmoud Abuzeid also has a wife from both Sudan and Egypt. His Sudanese wife is an older village woman and the mother of his two oldest sons, Nassir and Nur. His Egyptian wife is young, sophisticated and the mother of a young son and daughter. The disparities between these two women and their expectations form a partial basis for the plot. Another large part comes from a tragic accident that befalls the second son, Nur.
The world around the Abuzeid family is rapidly changing and each part of the family needs to learn to cope with these changes. The book gives interesting insight into Sudanese life and the social and political differences between Sudan and Egypt. It makes the current split within Sudan a more understandable situation.
I found the book to be fascinating. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy books about different cultures, history told as story and family drama as a way to learn about the world.