Lyrics Alley: Discussion Questions for Book Groups

Some of the more dramatic events of the novel are clearly written to provoke an emotional reaction. What events caused the biggest reaction for you?

The relationship between Mahmouds two wives, Hajjah Waheeba and Nabila, shows the contrasts between traditional Sudanese culture and Egyptian or Cairo cosmopolitan culture.

Did you think the book was critical of either of these cultures or the place of women in them? If so, how?

This novel takes place in a time when Sudan's relationship with Britain was shifting. How did the perception of Britain evolve through the characters eyes?

If Lyrics Alley could be said to portray a flavour of the Sudanese mindset at that time, what were the strongest elements of this mindset? Was it the same for Sudanese men and women, or across class divides?

The female characters in the novel all had very different roles and expectations of them. Did you think that these were more down to their own choices or to a fate or destiny that was unavoidable?

Nur's accident set many things in motion, besides his own injuries. What were the consequences for each character? Were these consequences all negative?

In the novel, some of the characters have quite materialistic motivations. Would you say that these are juxtaposed with motivations of faith and devotion?

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