Leila Aboulela: The Translator

(2163 words)

The Translator, first published in 1999, is Leila Aboulela’s first novel. Focusing on the life of Sammar, a Sudanese widow living in Aberdeen, this novel marks an important new intervention in postcolonial literature through its centralisation of religion (Islam) as the defining discourse. Though the central character moves between Scotland, Egypt and Sudan, the narrative is not primarily interested in national displacement, but in religious answers to questions of identity and belonging. Moving away from migration or post/colonial binaries as the common paradigms of postcolonial identity, Aboulela posits an active Muslim faith as Sammar’s primary source of identification, prioritising the spiritual over the physical j…

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Ilott, Sarah. "The Translator". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 August 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=30322, accessed 30 June 2015.]