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Again and again, characters from different cultures and beliefs are drawn together without being able to shrug off an inherent suspicion. The title story tells of a tragic accident at a Khartoum wedding; in another, romance blossoms in a Scottish kebab shop. The characters in Coloured Lights are engaging, sometimes painfully, sometimes comically with new encounters.  Many of the stories deal with the emotional intricacies of young women; their feeling of being caught between competing worlds and their attempts to feel at home.

“Moving, gentle, ironic, quietly angry and beautifully written.”
– Ben Okri on The Museum

“Aboulela is the kind of writer from whom British people need to hear. She is a remarkable fruit of the Scottish realist school: that bleak, resolutely unprivileged, documentary eye is guided here through new terrain. Aboulela turns the fact of cultural difference round and round until it becomes in her hands a perfect sphere…… Again and again [she] conveys the sense of two worlds touching and creating a further world, a new place in which it is exciting to find such a gifted writer”
The Telegraph

“Leila Aboulela is a master at teasing the extraordinary out of the ordinary … [she] weaves her stories around moments which seem small but are deafening in their demand to be heard.”
– Lesley McDowell, The Scotsman

“ These stories are about states of transition, about various encounters between Islam and  the west.  All Leila Aboulela’s Muslim characters – recent immigrants, some British and born to Muslim parents, others converts to the faith – discover a sense of direction through religion, made stronger through the feelings of displacement.”
Natalie Brierley, The New Statesman

“Everyday situations are elevated by Aboulela’s eye for detail and quiet humour, her deep understanding of inter-cultural suspicion.  Also striking is her versatility: some tales are tendered in wry authorial voice, others are harrowingly subjective. Original and immediate, Aboulela’s writing stands apart….”
The List

“An exciting…writer who is not afraid to tackle troublesome issues.”