Sunburnt veils by Sara Haghdoosti

cover image

Starting university is a challenge for anyone but what if you are obviously different?  Tara is a Muslim who chooses to wear a hijab at a time of racist/religious tensions in Sydney.  Her first day at University of Sydney is certainly a stand-out as she becomes the centre of a bomb scare.  Sunburnt Veils follows her progress as she makes a stand for herself and other "outsiders", opens herself up to new experiences and people, and navigates a relationship with someone from the other side of the tracks. On one hand this story is another coming of age love story. On the other hand, it explores different cultural beliefs and backgrounds, albeit with a fairly light touch.  However, it's uncomplicated narrative does not make it less valid. It is important to have everyday reads that show differences as major parts of the story and give everyone a face and voice. While the focus of this book is that of making the choice for Khoda (God), wearing the hijab and so standing out in the university environment and indeed in wider Australian society, it also touches on other aspects of fitting in to different social groups and public perceptions. It does this while also being a good old-fashioned teenage romance and coming of age story.

Themes: Islamaphobia; Coming of Age; Cultural Differences; Racism; Homosexuality; Romance.

Gaye Howe