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In her Muslim hijab, with her down-turned gaze, Najwa is invisible to most eyes, especially to the rich London families whose houses she cleans. But twenty years earlier, it was a different story. Najwa was at university in Khartoum and, as an upper-class westernized Sudanese, and her dreams were to marry well and raise a family. However, those days of incence came to an abrupt end and tough years followed. Now Najwa finds solace in her visits to the Mosque, the companionship of the Muslims she meets there, and in the hijab she adopts. Her dreams may have shattered, but her awakening to Islam has given her a different peace. Then Najwa meets a younger man and slowly they begin to fall in love.
Leila Aboulela was born in 1964 and grew up in Khartoum. She is the author of two books: a novel, The Translator which was published to critical acclaim in 1999 and a book of short stories, Coloured Lights published in 2000. Leila Aboulela lives between Jakarta and Aberdeen.