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Leila and Sali will pull you through a myriad of airports then out into the cities and villages of five continents. The drama of Leila’s international travels is distilled in her poetry – created 30K feet in the sky, in far flung places, and in Sali’s taxi. Their mutual love of poetry seals their deepening friendship. A friendship which is based on respect and their emerging back stories with themes too similar to ignore. This is a friendship that holds the smallest delights and the greatest tragedy.
REVIEW FROM KJ Eyre
If you’re looking for something different, Leila and Sali could be it. I enjoyed reading this book as much as I did working on it, mainly because Leila, the eponymous hero, is such a fascinating character. She’s an intriguing mixture of female attributes. She’s sassy and strong, yet at times insecure and anxious. But, in her role as hard-headed negotiator, she confidently navigates her way through an eye-opening backdrop of endless and at times frustrating conferences, as well as visits to war-torn countries and remote communities. Sometimes she’s with a long-lost lover, sometimes she’s not.
One of the main elements in the book is the unresolved love that develops between Leila and her regular taxi driver, Sali. During their many rides to and from the Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne they are brought together by their love of poetry, specifically haiku. Over the years, both have experienced heartbreaking loss, and although they know their connection is sacred, they also know it is never to be spoken of between them or expressed physically.
A compelling blend of backstories, exotic destinations and insightful encounters, Leila will pull at your heart strings and remain in your memory. I highly recommend it to all those who enjoy romantic stories and all things poetic.
Leila and Sali is a novel about love, loss and the journeys along the way.
A thirty-something academic, Leila is an advisor to international donors and governments. When not on a plane, or at a UN conference, she is visiting war-torn countries, refugee settlements and remote communities. Her only time for reflection is either 33,000 feet above the earth, or in an airport lounge.
Her nomadic life is held together by her regular taxi driver, Sali. During the forty-minute drive from her home in Melbourne to the airport and back, their relationship develops to become an unlikely friendship. Their stories of grief and loss, and their mutual passion for poetry, especially haiku, are the glue that binds them together.
The world Leila and Sali create in the taxi is their one constant and once you enter you will not want to leave.
Is Leila and Sali a tale of global wanderers and a buddy adventure? A poetry book and romantic journal? It is definitely a reflection on the world of development & the nature of justice. It is a space where poetry creates meaning in the tough times day and offers hope in the day to day.