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On Vox: Recommended reading

Last night I stayed up too late to finish Camilla Gibb's Sweetness in the Belly. The story is told from the viewpoint of Lilly, an English girl whose hippy parents led a nomadic life, moving from country to country in Europe, and then to Tangiers (Morocco). When the eight-year-old Lily wants to spend the day studying with a muslim teacher/philosopher, she never sees her parents again - for they are killed in a car accident. Lily has always longed for stability and embraces her new islamic life. She makes a piligramage to Harar (Ethiopia). Most of the book is divided between her life in Ethiopia in the early 1970s (in the years leading up to the revolution) and her life in London in the 1980s, working as a nurse and working in a 2-woman volunteer organization to help reunite Ethiopian refugees.

This book was wonderful. The language is poetic. Camilla Gibb is an anthropologist who did professional research in Ethiopia. The character Lily, who is both absorbed into the world and always to some degree an outsider is the perfect narrator to introduce us to that world.

The love stories are very sweet. Although the eventual outcomes was somewhat predictable, the details and reactions of the people involved was charming and felt plausible.

Originally posted on mmarques.vox.com

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