Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sweetness in the Belly: A Novel by Camilla Gibb

This beautifully written and impeccably researched tale contains a wealth of information about the battered country of Ethiopia and the strength and resilience of its people. It is obvious that Camilla Gibb had first-hand experience in the field and has the highest regard for those who went through the terrible years of war, famine, upheaval and dictatorship.

Sweetness in the Belly personalizes this unthinkable social and political tragedy so that we have an inside view into the life of Lilly, a privileged Muslim woman with an ill-fated attraction for Aziz, a doctor and a man of another class. The book goes back and forth between Ethiopia and England as Lilly reflects back on early years in her homeland before she was forced to flee. It is a testament to human nature that anyone can survive the atrocities that were perpetrated on these blameless souls, and can emerge with any kindness, decency and dreams for the future.

That makes this a book of hope with a wealth of fascinating information, although at heart, it's also just a great story. I'll be looking for more books by Gibb, after I've watched some lightweight comedies on DVD that will serve as a buffer from reading about so much pain.

Sigrid Macdonald, Ottawa, Ontario

No comments: