Short Story #10: Missing Out (Leila Aboulela)

Deal Me In Reading Challenge: I drew the two of clubs.

Story: Missing Out, by Leila Aboulela.  I read it in The Granta Book of the African Short Story; it also available online at .

Comments: Leila Aboulela, who is Sudanese, writes here about a classic situation: that of an immigrant couple (Sudanese in London, in this case), one of whom embraces the new culture of the host country with enthusiasm, to the point of considering staying there permanently, while the other retreats more and more into longing for the country of origin, dreaming of going back, refusing to adapt, and becoming ever more isolated and withdrawn from the reality of life around her.  “My fictional worlds reflect Muslim logic,” the author says.  “But my characters do not necessarily behave as ‘good’ Muslims; they are not ideals or role models. They are flawed and complex, trying to practise their faith or make sense of Allah’s will, in difficult circumstances.”  (From her website:

Given her way of creating character here, and of drawing the reader in to have sympathy for both sides of the story, I will be on the lookout for other work by this author.

4 thoughts on “Short Story #10: Missing Out (Leila Aboulela)

  1. Pingback: Deal Me In – Week 10 Wrap Up | Bibliophilopolis

  2. Coincidentally, my short story author this week has also explored the immigrant experience often (not in the story I read, but in other works I learned of in researching her afterward). That certainly seems like it would be fertile ground for fiction.

    I’m glad you chose to read many stories from this collection for DMI2014, as I would likely never have heard of them otherwise.


    • This book had been “calling to me” for quite a while, and twice in the bookshop I picked it up to buy it, then put it back on the shelf. When eventually I went back to buy it for definite, it was gone!! So I bought the Kindle version instead, and am enjoying it.

  3. I enjoy a well-crafted immigrant experience story. I love all the potential for different points of view the author has to work with.

    I’ve never heard of this particular author. Thanks so much for linking to the story!

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