An enchanting, tender portrait of three women searching for freedom, from the three-times Orange Prize longlisted, Scottish Book Award and Caine Prize winner Leila Aboulela.
Salma, Moni and Iman are embarking on a road trip to the highlands to pay homage to Lady Evelyn Cobbold, the first Muslim woman of Scotland. The women are looking for more than a holiday. Each wants to escape her life; each wants an answer.
Salma came up with the idea for the trip. Born in Egypt, she moved to Scotland for love, giving up her right to practise medicine. Now a successful masseuse, married to David and bringing up their children, she feels that she still has to make an effort to belong. And when her old boyfriend Amir starts messaging her, she is tempted to risk the life she has worked so hard to build.
Moni has been caring for her disabled son Adam for five years and is reaching breaking point. Her husband wants them to join him in Saudi Arabia, but Moni is reluctant to uproot her son, taking him to a country where his condition will render him an outcast.
Iman, the youngest of the three, in her late twenties and yet on her third husband, is burdened by her beauty. Treated like a pet by her lovers and friends, she longs to be alone and free.
On a remote hillside in Inverness, each woman is visited by the Hoopoe, a messenger bird of Islamic lore, and forced to question how much they have sacrificed in the name of love.
Bird Summons is a haunting, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and religion, faith and culture collide – confirming Leila Aboulela as a leading storyteller of our times.