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THE SOUND OF LANGUAGE
AMULYA MALLADI
ISBN# 978-0-345-48136-4
December 2007
Ballentine Books/A Division of Random House
1745 Broadway, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10019
Paperback
$13.95
244 Pages
Fiction
Rating: 5 cups

Raihana is a young Afghani woman who has escaped the horrors of the Taliban, but not without a price. In the process she loses her husband and her unborn baby. She has moved into the home of distant cousins and wants one day to return to Afghanistan, though she does not know if this will ever be possible.

Gunnar is an old man and beekeeper who has just recently lost his wife to a stroke. He is drowning in his grief; not cleaning his home, not taking care of his bees, and just sitting around being depressed. He does not know how he is going to go on without his beloved Anna.

When Raihana learns she must do an apprenticeship to help her learn the Danish language, she is less than enthused at first. She does not think she will be able to learn Danish and thinks it reminds her of the buzzing of bees. However, she did have an uncle who was a beekeeper in Afghanistan, and when she is offered a choice between working with her cousin Layla in a supermarket or helping a beekeeper with his bees, she chooses the beekeeping job. Her cousins, not to mention the rest of local Afghani community, are less than enthused with her choice. And when someone attacks Raihana when she is riding home on her bike, causing her injury, there are those who will say she brought it on herself by taking the job with the beekeeper. But Raihana is stronger than they give her credit for, and her quiet resilience has brought Gunnar out of his grief stricken stupor. Now he will do whatever it takes to maintain a friendship with the young woman who has become his assistant, and helped him so much, but will such an unlikely pair of friends be able to remain so? Or will society keep them apart?

The Sound of Language is a book about an unusual friendship between two people who really need each other. I enjoyed reading about Raihana and how her mind worked. As someone from a western culture, it is often difficult to understand why women from cultures in the middle east think the way they do. This book gave me a lot to think about with regards to this. The descriptions of Denmark are detailed and make you feel as though you are right there. Also the book gives you a glimpse into how westerners sometimes have erroneous thoughts about those of the Muslim faith, and how those of the Muslim faith sometimes have erroneous thoughts about westerners. If you want to understand Muslim culture a little better then The Sound of Language is the book for you. I highly recommend it!

Regina
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

 

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