A richly imagined tale of one woman's search for love and belonging.
In Thatcher's London, Lilly, a white Muslim nurse, struggles in a state of invisible exile. As Ethiopian refugees gradually fill the flats of the housing estate where she lives, Lilly tentatively begins to share with them her longing for the home she herself once had in Africa and her heartbreaking search for her missing lover.
Back in Haile Selassie's Ethiopia, the young Lilly, born in the 1950s to British parents, now orphaned and full of religious conviction, finds herself living in the city of Harar. She is drawn to the idealistic young doctor, Aziz, himself an outsider in the community. But then convulsions of a new revolutionary order separate them, sending Lilly to an England she has never seen, while Aziz disappears.
"This is a profound novel, exploring themes of female circumcision, politics, war, tribalism, yet it is also an exquisite homage to Islam" Bernardine Evaristo Guardian
Camilla Gibb was born in London and lives in Toronto. She is the author of several novels, including Mouthing the Words and The Petty Details of So-and-So's Life. She was one of the 21 young women writers included in the Orange Futures list of writers to watch in the 21st century.
"This is a profound novel, exploring themes of female circumcision, politics, war, tribalism, yet it is also an exquisite homage to Islam" -- Bernardine Evaristo Guardian "Camilla Gibb...burrows deep into the lives of her characters, finding the universal in the exotic" -- Kate Saunders The Times "A passionate and humane story about people for whom displacement, poverty and war are everyday trials...Gibb, singled out as one of the Orange Futures writers, is one to watch" -- Sheila Hamilton Glasgow Evening Times "Gibb's understanding of this world seems almost uncanny but it is her compassion for her characters that impressed me the most. [Sweetness in the Belly] challenges and disturbs as it enlightens and uplifts. A really exceptional achievement" -- Barbara Gowdy "This is a rarity, a novel that transforms expectations. A hugely ambitious work executed with deceptive ease, it is an unbelievably odd tale, yet utterly convincing, able to transport us behind closed borders and back again... Succeeds brilliantly ... A marvellous sight to behold' Montreal Gazette"